Coronavirus Italy
Coronavirus Italy
(Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Rome: Italy on Tuesday confirmed that 8,514 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 631 have died since the epidemic first emerged in the country's northern region last month.

In addition, a total of 1,004 patients have recovered, said Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli, who is also the national commissioner in charge of the coronavirus emergency, according to Xinhua news agency.

Borrelli said that among the deceased, a few were aged between 50-59 years, 8 per cent were aged 60-69, 32 per cent were 70-79, 45 per cent were 80-89 and 14 per cent were over 90.

Of the positive cases, 5,038 are hospitalised with symptoms, 877 are in intensive care, and 2,599 are quarantined at home, Borrelli said.

The whole of Italy - a country of some 60 million people - was placed under quarantine as the government stepped up efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 10,000 people.

All sporting events, schools, and universities have been cancelled. Places of public gathering such as cinemas, theatres, and nightclubs remain closed. Religious ceremonies including funerals and weddings will also be postponed.

Globally, more than 4,000 people have died from the coronavirus and over 113,000 cases have been confirmed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). About 64,000 people have recovered around the world, Al Jazeera reported.

Air Canada, the country's flag carrier, has halted all flights to and from Italy over the coronavirus outbreak, until at least May 1.

The airline's last flight to Rome is scheduled to take off from Toronto on Tuesday, with the final return flight departing Rome for Montreal on Wednesday. All affected customers will be notified and offered a full refund, it said.

Air Canada said regulations and "ongoing health and safety concerns" prompted the decision.

In a similar move, Hungary's Wizz Air has also suspended all flights to and from Italian airports from March 10 until April 3 Spain decided to cancel all direct flights from Italy for two weeks in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to the government's official gazette.

The measure will take effect from March 11 at midnight and continue until midnight of March 25, the gazette said.

Austria and Kazakhstan has further denied entry to people arriving from Italy in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

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Free Press Journal