VP of Chinese Red Cross Says Coronavirus-Stricken Italy Not Doing Nearly Enough to Slow Spread: 'We Must Hurry'

The vice president of the Chinese Red Cross, Sun Shuopeng, warned coronavirus-stricken Italy on Thursday that it is not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus and that "we must hurry."

"It is time to close economic activities and prohibit the movement of people. We must hurry, we must stop all economic activities and stop mobility. Everyone must stay at home, in quarantine, and we need everyone to be prepared to protect their lives, because people's lives are the most important thing. We don't have a second choice in front of life," Sun said at a press conference in Milan, according to Italian news site Milano Corriere.

"Everyone is involved in the fight against COVID-19, not just the government, not just the medical staff. All citizens must be involved and follow containment measures," he added.

His comments came on the same day that Italy surpassed China, where the virus originated, as the country with the most deaths from the virus. According to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, Italy has had over 3,400 fatalities, while China's total is at least 3,133.

During his press conference, Sun continued to stress the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy and said the situation in the Lombardy region "is similar to what we experienced two months ago in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of COVID-19," the disease caused by the virus.

"In the city of Wuhan after one month since the adoption of the lockdown policy, we see a decreasing trend from the peak of the disease," Sun said, according to CNN. "Here in Milan, the hardest-hit area by COVID-19, there isn't a very strict lockdown policy: Public transportation is still working, and people are still moving around, you're still having dinners and parties in the hotels, and you're not wearing masks. We need every citizen to be involved in the fight of COVID-19 and follow this policy."

In addition to Italy surpassing China in coronavirus deaths, the European country continues to report new cases daily, while China has reported no new locally transmitted cases.

According to the Johns Hopkins tracker, there are over 41,000 confirmed cases in Italy, with at least 5,322 new ones being reported on Thursday alone. By comparison, there are over 81,200 cases in China, but the country's National Health Commission reported on Thursday just 34 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Outside of China, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, now over 250,000, continues to increase, along with over 10,300 deaths. According to the Johns Hopkins tracker, there have been at least 87,200 confirmed recoveries from the virus.

Coronavirus in Italy
The Via Nazionale and Vittoriano monument on March 19 in Rome. Italy has surpassed China as the country with the most deaths from the coronavirus. Antonio Masiello/Getty