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Italy’s dead overwhelm mortuaries as virus toll tops 8,000

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An overwhelmed Italian city at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday sent more of its dead to nearby towns for cremation as the country’s world-leading toll topped 8,000.

Officials in Rome reported 662 new deaths and 6,153 infections — largely in line with the figures reported throughout the week.

The rise in daily deaths edged down to the lowest point in the crisis — 8.8 percent — while the infection rate stood at around eight percent for the fourth day running.

But the numbers are not dropping much further and Italians appear to be coming to terms with the realisation that two weeks of life under lockdown have not made the disease go away.

“Until we see this damn rate drop, we will have to continue making very hard sacrifices,” deputy civil protection service chief Agostino Miozzo said in reference to the ever-tightening containment measures.

A priest says a quiet prayer over the rows of coffins at the warehouse on Bergamo's outskirts
A priest says a quiet prayer over the rows of coffins at the warehouse on Bergamo’s outskirts

Italy’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 8,165 — more than that of second-placed Spain and China, where the virus emerged in December, combined.

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