Coronavirus: 475 people die in Italy in one day

Italy has reported 475 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest one-day death toll of any nation so far during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest figures - a 19 percent increase - bring the country's total number of COVID-19 deaths to 2978.

There have been 35,713 cases of the virus in the country so far.

Of those originally infected, just over 4000 people had fully recovered, while more than 2200 people are currently in intensive care.

Globally, more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with the virus claiming over 8200 lives so far.

After beginning in China, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak has shifted to Europe in recent weeks. 

Many countries on the continent have been placed in lockdown, with schools and workplaces closed.

In Italy, all restaurants, bars and most shops were ordered closed until March 25, though officials have warned that may be extended if the rate of infections does not slow.

More cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded outside China than inside, with Italy the worst-affected nation after China.

As cases continue to rise, the European country's healthcare system has been pushed to breaking point, with hospitals, particularly in the north, struggling to care for the sick.

In the region of Lombardy, officials have appealed to retired doctors and nurses to return to work to help their colleagues in the fight against the virus.

Around 65 percent of the country's deaths have been in Lombardy.