The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic rose by 743 in one day to 6,820, reversing a declining trend in fatalities observed over the last two days.

In India, 1.3 billion people will go under “total lockdown” from midnight (18:30 GMT) on Tuesday for 21 days to combat the spread of the contagion.

In Spain, deaths surged by 514 in one day, bringing the total to 2,696. It also reported 6,600 new coronavirus cases, raising nationwide infections to 39,673.

More than 17,100 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 103,000 of the 392,000 people diagnosed with the disease have recovered.

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 743 to 6,820, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said, reversing a two-day decline.

On Monday 602 people died. That followed 650 deaths on Sunday and 793 on Saturday – the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on February 21.

The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 69,176 from a previous 63,927, an increase of 8.2 per cent, in line with Monday’s growth rate.

US deaths are now 600, almost 50,000 confirmed cases.

Six-hundred people have died from the new coronavirus in the United States, while the number of confirmed cases now stands at 49,768, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

The US has the third-highest number of confirmed cases globally, behind China and Italy. The death rate based on reported cases is now 1.2 per cent – but the actual number believed to be infected is far higher, which would bring the rate down.

Meanwhile, Russia is sending a ship with military ambulances towards Syria. A cargo ship operated by the Russian Navy transited Turkey’s Bosphorus strait en route to Syria loaded with ambulances, a Reuters news agency reporter saw.

Syria reported its first case of coronavirus on Sunday after weeks of rejecting opposition allegations the disease had already reached a country with a wrecked health system and thousands of Iranian-backed militias and Shia pilgrims.

The Russian Dvinitsa-50 ship, part of Moscow’s auxiliary fleet, was carrying at least three military ambulances along with a shipping container on its deck.

Russia, which has provided military support for President Bashar al-Assad since 2015, operates a naval facility at Tartus in Syria and an airbase in Latakia.

Today, Ryanair becomes latest airline to ground flights. Ryanair said it does not expect to operate flights in April or May and has offered its aircraft to European governments for rescue or the essential movement of medicines and personal protective equipment.

“The experience in China suggests a three-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced. We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend on government advice,” the budget airline said in a statement posted on Twitter.

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