An elderly cancer patient became the third person known to be infected with Coronavirus to die in Italy, health officials said on Sunday, as the number of people contracting the virus continued to mount.

The woman had been in hospital in Crema, located in Lombardy, where most cases of infections have been reported, according to the AFP. 

“She had been hospitalised for a few days,” Giulio Gallera, Lombardy’s health chief, said during a news conference. “She’d been tested and they already knew she had Coronavirus.”

The head of Italy’s civil protection department, Angelo Borrelli, said 152 people had now tested positive for the virus, including the three deceased.

Italy became the first country in Europe to announce death from Coronavirus on Friday when a 78-year-old man died in the region of Veneto.

A 77-year-old woman died in Lombardy on Saturday, prompting new security measures by Italy’s government to contain the spread of  the infection.

Eleven towns — 10 in Lombardy and one in Veneto — are now under lockdown, with residents prohibited from leaving. 

Regional authorities have cancelled public events such as football matches and instructed schools to remain closed.

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