A woman wearing a protective face mask takes a selfie in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II after a decree orders for the whole of Italy to be on lockdown in an unprecedented clampdown aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Milan, Italy, March 10, 2020.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday that the lockdown, which began on March 9, would be extended into April.
Italy's nationwide shutdown of "non-essential" shops and businesses, as well as a ban on public gatherings, is due to expire on 25 March, while measures closing the country's schools and universities are now in place until 3 April.
No end date for the quarantine measures was given and the premier told Corriere della Sera that he was now unable to say anything more except that: "it is clear that the measures we have taken, both those which have closed much of the country's corporate and individual activities, and those affecting the schools, can only be extended beyond the deadline".
Conte referred to the closures of many businesses, "individual activities" and the shutdown of schools.
"We have avoided the collapse of the system, the restrictive measures function", Conte said.
But he warned "we will not be able to return immediately to life as it was before" even after worst is over.
His remarks come as Italy suffered 475 deaths in a single day - the largest increase in the country since the outbreak began. The European nation, which has been the hardest-hit by the virus outside of China, has more than 35,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and approximately 3,000 related deaths.