Struck by disaster, Italy has recorded 969 new coronavirus deaths in one day, its highest daily figure in the outbreak so far.
It means 9,134 people have now died from the virus in the country.
Earlier World Health Organization chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “chronic global shortage” of protective equipment was one of the “most urgent threats” to the ability to save lives.
The worst-affected area in Europe, Italy has been under strict lockdown for over 2 weeks, with authorities warning that restrictions are likely to be extended beyond 3 April.
There were 4,401 new confirmed cases recorded, slightly lower than Thursday’s figure but still well up on the numbers from earlier in the week. There has been a total of nearly 86,500 confirmed cases in the country.
On Thursday Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campania region around Naples, said the central government had not provided promised ventilators and other life-saving equipment.
“At this point there is the real prospect that Lombardy’s tragedy is about to become the south’s tragedy,” he said.
The same day Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said all of Europe would be hit by a severe recession. He promised a second stimulus package for Italy worth at least €25bn (£23bn; $27bn).
What is happening in the rest of the world?
Spain has seen a sharp rise in the number of deaths, with 769 people dying in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 4,858.
Rate of infection in Spain are stabilising however, with confirmed cases rising to 64,059, a 14% increase compared with 18% a day earlier and 20% on Wednesday. The Spanish government has extended the state of emergency until at least 12 April.
Greece’s coronavirus infected population has been steadily increasing, recording a total of 966 cases and 28 deaths.
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, there were more than 540,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world and 24,000 deaths. Some 124,000 people have recovered.