ROME - The Italian government said Thursday that the number of deaths from the new coronavirus has exceeded 1,000 in the country, with more than 15,000 people having tested positive for the virus.

Despite Italy's efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus with an unprecedented lockdown of the whole country, the number of deaths from the pneumonia-causing disease is increasing at a rapid pace.

According to the Italian government, the death toll from the virus stood at 1,016 as of Thursday, up 189 from a day before, while the total infection cases jumped by 2,651 to 15,113.

In the face of a steep rise in infections, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday locked down the whole country, restricting travel, public gatherings and events while shutting down theaters and museums.

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