Virus cases spiral in Europe, Italy records 368 deaths in one day

People walk in an almost empty St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, Monday, March 9, 2020. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says he is restricting travel nationwide to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Conte said Monday night a new government decree will require all people in Italy to demonstrate they need to work, have health conditions or other limited legitimate reasons to travel outside their home areas. (Anteo Marinoni/LaPresse via AP)

Covid-19 cases in the continent of Europe spiralled in just one day as three countries recorded their highest death tolls for single day.

The number of deaths in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries with the virus, recorded 368 deaths in one day, bringing its total to 1,809. Italy has borne the heaviest burden from the pandemic with 24,747 infections. 1,218 of its fatalities were recorded in one region, Lombardy, which is home to the major city of Milan.

The government has put the whole country in lockdown last Monday, restricting people's movements and ordering the closure of all shops except food stores and pharmacies. Schools, gyms, museums, and other venues had also been closed earlier.

Spain also recorded 97 more deaths for a total of 288. France reported 29 deaths, giving a total of 120.

Switzerland reported a leap in the number of infections by 800 to reach 2,200 in just 24 hours. The country has recorded 14 deaths so far.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared Europe the "epicentre" of the pandemic which originated in China.

An estimated 162,687 people have been infected worldwide, with just under half of them in China. An estimated 6,065 people have died, 3,085 of them in China.