Italy confirms 168 dead in single day with country on lockdown amid coronavirus crisis

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Italian authorities have said 168 people have died in one day from coronavirus, as the government imposes new measures to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

It brings the official death toll up to 631 from 463 in the last 24 hours.

On Tuesday, busy streets were left deserted as people were told to stay at home. The sweeping restrictions - initially imposed in the north - were extended by authorities as they rapdily try to prevent more people catching Covid-19.

Italy now had the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside of the respiratory disease's epicentre, China.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

Police have been checking passengers travelling around the country amid the lockdown. Credit: AP

Some 60 million people are now facing travel restrictions and a ban on mass gatherings - including sporting events - which will be in place from Tuesday until April 3, the country's Prime Minister Giuseppe Contehe told the nation.

Panic buying erupted in Italy overnight after the country's premier introduced the nationwide lockdown.

The Italian government has been forced to assure its citizens that supermarkets will remain open and stocked after panic buying erupted following the new measure - sparking overnight runs on 24-hour markets.

On Tuesday, England's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, warned an Italy-style lockdown of the UK "cannot be ruled out".

The stark statement came as NHS England confirmed a sixth patient has died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Austria blocks visitors crossing southern border with Italy as Malta postpones flights

Face masks have become a common sight in Italy as the country enters lockdown. Credit: AP

Austria’s chancellor has said the country is barring entry to travellers from Italy.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said exceptions will be made for those with medical notes and authorities will help repatriate Austrians coming north from Italy. The two countries share a border of more than 250 miles.

Joining Austria in blocking travel from Italy, Maltese authorities have announced the suspension of all flights to and from Italy from Malta.

The UK and Ireland have issued travel advisories for the whole country as Italy’s extraordinary Covid-19 lockdown looked set to isolate the country both inside and out.