Italy iStock

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy rose to 1,266 on Friday, an increase of 250 in a day, Sky News reported.

The 25% hike is the largest rise in absolute terms since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The total number of cases in the country, the worst hit in Europe, has gone up by 17%, from 15,113 to 17,660.

Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organization said that Europe was now the epicenter of the world's coronavirus pandemic.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters in Geneva that "more cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic."

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte earlier this week added new restrictions to the lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus.

In a televised address to the nation, Conte said all shops would be shuttered except supermarkets, food stores and chemists, and companies must close all their departments that are not essential to production.

On Monday, Conte extended restrictions on travel from the north to entire country. He issued a new government decree requiring all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)