Italian soldiers enforce the lockdown in the region of Lombardy
Italian soldiers enforce the lockdown in the region of Lombardy Reuters

The number of fatalities from the coronavirus in Italy continued to climb on Saturday, as 793 new deaths were reported, a one-day record that saw Italy’s toll shoot up to 4,825, AFP reports.

Coronavirus deaths in Italy are now 38.3 percent of the world's total.

The number of COVID-19 infections rose by 6,557 to 53,578, another record.

The total number of fatalities in the northern Lombardy regions around Milan surpassed 3,000. It accounts for nearly two-thirds of Italy's fatalities.

Italy has reported 1,420 deaths since Friday, a grim figure that suggests the pandemic is breaking through the government's various containment and social distancing measures.

On Friday, the country recorded 627 deaths from COVID-19. A day earlier, it surpassed China as the nation with the most COVID-19-related deaths.

The Mediterranean nation of 60 million has been under an effective lockdown since March 12, when public gatherings were banned and most stores shuttered.

Police were out in force across the streets of Rome on Saturday, checking documents and fining those outside without a valid reason, such as buying groceries, according to AFP.

Joggers were asked to run around the block of their houses, parks and beaches were closed, and the government in Rome prepared to extend school and other closures into the summer months.

The figures released Saturday showed deaths still largely contained to Italy's richer north, whose world-class healthcare system is under strain but still not breaking.

It is much better than what is available in the poorer south, whose regions have registered a few dozen deaths each -- and which the government in Rome is watching closely.

The Lazio region that includes Rome has recorded a total of 50 deaths and 1,190 infections.

The National Health Institute (ISS) said the average age of coronavirus victims was 78.5, and the average age of those infected 63.

It added that 98.8 percent of those who died from COVID-19 had least one pre-existing condition or ailment, based on the study of Italy’s first 3,200 fatalities.