Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London’s faculty of medicine has said Italy could have more than 100,000 coronavirus cases.
He estimates that are at least 50,000 to 100,000 of coronavirus across the country, which is the worst affected country in western Europe.
Professor Ferguson told the BBC’s Today programme people who have coronavirus, “were probably infected three weeks ago and for every person who dies we think there might be 100, maybe even 200 people infected.
“The lethality of this virus is not completely determined but it’s in that order… so the epidemic is probably doubling every week or so in Italy – so when you put those numbers together we’d estimate somewhere between 50 and 100,000 cases at the moment in Italy.
“At least, it could even be higher, cases may still be being missed even in severe cases.”
Italy has closed all schools and universities across the country until 15 March in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Italy currently has 3,089 cases of coronavirus, with 107 deaths and 276 patients are fully recovered.