Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll in Italy passes 1000

The death toll from COVID-19 coronavirus in Italy has passed 1000 as stricter restrictions were imposed on residents. 

The Civil Protection Agency made the announcement on Thursday local time as the number of cases in the country surged by 21 percent to 15,113. 

Italy is battling with the world's worst coronavirus outbreak outside China. 

Residents in Rome woke to even stricter restrictions on their daily lives after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak. 

All shops are now shut except food shops, pharmacies, tobacconists and newspaper sellers. 

Cafes and restaurants, previously allowed to open to customers in the daytime, are now restricted to delivery service only, except for those in transport hubs.

On Thursday morning, bakers in Rome opened and sold bread, milk and cakes. There was no bigger rush than on previous days, a salesperson said. Public buses and some cars were on the streets of the capital. 

Television pictures from the northwestern city of Genoa showed sparse traffic, with a few people queueing outside an open shop, keeping well beyond the official 1-metre distance from each other. 

"Italy closes," said the main front-page headline on newspaper La Repubblica.

Conte warned Italians not to expect immediate results from the increasingly restrictive measures. "We will be able to see the effects of our great effort only in a few weeks, in a couple of weeks," he said.

The premier said banks, post offices and transport services would remain operational, as would factories and offices provided they adopt measures to keep workers apart.

Government offices are encouraging flexible working.