Italy mourns its virus dead at end of fateful month

Italy marked a minute of silence and flew flags at half mast on Tuesday to mourn the 11,591 people who have died from the coronavirus pandemic that has drastically altered life in the Mediterranean country.

The nation of 60 million people has recorded nearly a third of all fatalities caused by the disease around the world.

The day of mourning marks a month in which Italy saw more deaths from a single disaster than at any time since World War II. It was first detected in Italy near the northern city of Milan in late February.

Vatican City also flew its yellow-and-white flags at half mast in solidarity with the rest of Italy.

The Italian government imposed an unprecedented lockdown three weeks ago to help stem the spread of a virus that has now officially infected more than 100,000 people in the country.

The financial cost of the forced shutdown of almost all businesses threatens to send Italy's economy -- the European Union's third largest last year -- into its deepest recession in decades.