Italy is at the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe and Spain is catching up to it
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, Italy and Spain remain the two countries most-affected by the virus in Europe.
The Italian prime minister deemed the current situation in his country the worst since the Second World War; while Spain's prime minister said his government is going to produce equipment against coronavirus, which is reminiscent of a war economy.
Covid-19, the coronavirus, originated far away from Europe, in China. The pandemic has broken through to the birthplace of the Renaissance and a once-mighty empire.
Italy is at the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe and Spain is catching up to it.
A macabre Italy as death toll surges
To halt the coronavirus epidemic that claimed another 793 lives in Italy on Saturday, the country has shut all non-essential factories as a drastic measure to contain it.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shared his warning with the nation in a dramatic late-night television address on Saturday, reports The Guardian.
"The decision taken by the government is to close down all productive activity throughout the territory that is not strictly necessary, crucial and indispensable, to guarantee us essential goods and services," Conte said.
Conte said the country was facing its gravest crisis since the Second World War and said all non-essential businesses must close until April 3.
"We will slow down the country's productive engine, but we will not stop it," the Italian prime minister added.
Russia's military will start sending medical help to Italy, from Sunday, in order to help it battle the coronavirus, Moscow's defence ministry said in a statement.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, saying the Russian leader had offered his support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to help the worst-hit Italian regions.
Italy now accounts for more than a third of the world's total of around 13,000 deaths.
The Mediterranean country has the second-highest number of cases with 53,578 out of the global total of more than 307,000.
Spain: Europe's second-worst outbreak
The Spanish government said on Saturday it would do whatever was needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and warned that "the worst is yet to come" after the national toll surpassed 1,300 deaths and reached close to 25,000 cases.
"We have yet to receive the impact of the strongest, most-damaging wave, which will test our material and moral capacities to the limit, as well as our spirit as a society," Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told a news briefing on Saturday, reports France 24.
The second-worst outbreak in Europe showed no sign of slowing as the death toll jumped by more than 300 from the previous day. Intensive care units are filling up in some hospitals.
Sanchez said Spain had not lived through such a dramatic situation since its 1936-39 civil war, in which around half a million people died.
Drawing parallels to a war economy, the Spanish prime minister said his government is working on plans to produce equipment needed to battle coronavirus – such as masks – in Spain.
Pedro Sanchez's leftist government, a week ago, declared a 15-day state of emergency nationwide – barring people from all but essential outings.
Deeming it the toughest in Europe, Sanchez praised the "exemplary" response.
It was reported that the Spanish government decided to extend for another 15 days the 15-day state of emergency announced on March 14 to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the El Pais and El Mundo newspapers reported on Sunday.
Pedro Sanchez communicated the decision to regional leaders during a video conference call.
Spain's death toll jumped to 1,720 from 1,326 on Sunday, according to its health ministry's data released. The number of cases rose to 27,572 from 24,926.