• Italy reported 35,713 coronavirus infections and 3,405 deaths
  • China with more than 81,000 cases has had 3,245 deaths and reported no new cases Thursday
  • Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the lockdown could be extended beyond April 3

Italy’s death toll from coronavirus pandemic surpassed China’s reported toll, the Civil Protection Agency reported as the number of confirmed infections worldwide topped 230,055.

Italy reported the 475 deaths Wednesday brought Italy’s fatalities to 3,405 among the country’s 35,713 cases. In China, which reported 81,155 cases, the government has reported 3,245 deaths. China reported no new local transmission cases Thursday.

Video shows military trucks transporting bodies from Bergamo to other provinces for cremation because of a lack of capacity in the medieval alpine city north of Milan.

With the country on lockdown and hospitals overwhelmed, authorities are running out of options for stemming the outbreak. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera the lockdown would be extended, prohibiting people from leaving their homes unless they need food or medicine.

“The total blockade will go on,” Conte said. “The measures taken, both the closure of [public] activities and the ones concerning schools, can only be extended” beyond its original end date of April 3.

Italian authorities said 2,498 patients are hospitalized in intensive care, with nearly half in the Lombardy region where five more doctors have died, bringing that total to 13.

"We desperately need nurses and doctors, as well as ventilation appliances and personal protective equipment," Stefano Fagiuoli, director of the Department of Medicine of the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo.

Italy has been especially hard hit in part because it has the second-oldest population in the world – 23% are over 65 -- and the young, who often don’t exhibit any symptoms, frequently mingle with the elderly, who are especially susceptible to the virus’ deadly effects.

Of the 300 children affected in Italy, there are no serious cases, said Alberto Villani, president of the Italian Pediatric Society.

Civil Protection head Angelo Borrelli said he has signed an order lifting the requirement that people get a prescription from a doctor before they can obtain medications to deal with their symptoms. Instead people will be able to obtain a code.