Italy sees small rise in number of coronavirus infections and deaths

Italy sees near-identical number of coronavirus infections and deaths as yesterday, as hopes remain that the country has flattened the curve

  • The death toll climbed by 837 to 12,428, the Civil Protection Agency said today
  • It is a similar figure to yesterday as it appears the rate of deaths is now flattening
  • The number of new cases was steady, growing 4,053 against 4,050 yesterday 
  • Some 5,217 new cases were registered on Sunday and 5,974 noted on Saturday 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Italy today saw a near-identical number of coronavirus infections and deaths for a second day – as hopes remain the country is past the worst of the virus.

The death toll climbed by 837 to 12,428, the Civil Protection Agency said, with the daily tally rising, albeit slightly, for a second day running.

The number of new cases was broadly steady, growing by 4,053 against 4,050 yesterday, and bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on February 21 to 105,792.

Today’s figures show a slight decline in the rate of infections and deaths from the virus indicating the country is starting to recover from the worst of the outbreak. 

Some 5,217 new cases were registered on Sunday and 5,974 on Saturday, suggesting the growth curve of new infections is flattening.

Personal healthcare workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prepare to transport infected Coronavirus (COVID 19) patients at the Verduno Hospital today

A worker sanitizes the staircase of Altar of the fatherland (Altare della Patria) during the Coronavirus emergency today

The death toll climbed by 837 to 12,428, the Civil Protection Agency said, with the daily tally rising, albeit slightly, for a second day running

The number of new cases was broadly steady, growing by 4,053 against 4,050 yesterday, and bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on February 21 to 105,792

The daily tally of deaths in Lombardy, the worst-affected region, declined sharply, and new infections were also down for at least the third day running, suggesting the situation is improving there faster than elsewhere in the country.

In neighbouring Piedmont, on the other hand, the daily death toll of 105 was up sharply from the day before.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 15,729 had fully recovered on Tuesday, compared to 14,620 the day before. There were 4,023 people in intensive care, up from a previous 3,981.

Italy has registered more deaths than anywhere else in the world and accounts for around 30 per cent of all global fatalities from the virus.

Italy’s largest daily toll from the five-week-old epidemic was registered on Friday, when 919 people died. There were 889 deaths on Saturday, 756 on Sunday and 812 on Monday.

It comes as the head of Italy’s national institutes of health says the country has hit the ‘plateau’ in its coronavirus infection rate, three weeks into a national lockdown, and should start to see a decline in new cases.

 Employees of a private company prepare to spray disinfectant in a building in Rome today

A Carabinieri officers checks a driver’s documents during a control in Rome, Italy today

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro said today that it would be folly to relax Italy’s productivity shutdown and stay-at-home restrictions now, even though the rate of new virus infections is slowing.

But he said, ‘The curve suggests we are at the plateau. We have to confirm it, because arriving at the plateau doesn’t mean we have conquered the peak and we’re done. It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day.’ 

Brusaferro confirmed that Italy’s R0, the average number of people who will get infected from one contagious person, is nearing one, down from estimates as high as two or three. Officials are aiming to get the R0 under one to rein in the epidemic.

In the absence of a virus vaccine that would bring that rate closer to zero, Brusaferro said governments around the world will have to come up with a mixture of measures to keep the infection curve down while gradually allowing some activity to restart.

It comes as the country’s former Prime Minister warned Italy must reopen its schools at the start of May or risk causing mass protests and riots.

Matteo Renzi, leader of the Italia Viva party who led the country from 2014 to 2016, called for factories to be reopened by Easter and for millions of children to return to classrooms on May 4 to ease the pressure on hard-hit families and the economy.

‘Italy cannot hibernate for another month because this is how the social revolt ignites,’ he said. ‘The balconies will soon turn into pitchforks; the songs of hope, into desperate protests.’

But health experts poured cold water on his idea, insisting that it is still too early to talk about relaxing draconian restrictions that has seen all-but essential businesses shuttered and people banned from leaving the house. 

Italian and EU flags flly at half-mast in tribute to the Covid-19 victims, at Palazzo Chigi, in Rome today

Renzi spoke out on Saturday, as it became clear that Italy’s rate of new coronavirus cases had begun falling. 

But Giovanni Rezza, an infectious disease expert who has been helping to lead the country’s response, said it needs to fall further still before measures can be eased.

Speaking at the weekend, he said the average Italian coronavirus patient is now infecting just over one person with the virus.

That is down from 2.5 people on average before the lockdown was put in place.

‘But it must fall further,’ he said, ‘below one before the alarm is over.’

Pierluigi Lopalco, another disease expert, agreed. ‘Thinking about reopening schools on May 4th is madness and making proclamations at this time is wrong,’ he said.

Renzi made his remarks in an interview with Italian newspaper Avvenire, in which he insisted that life must be allowed to carry on during the pandemic – albeit differently than usual.

‘The coronavirus season has a before, an after, but also a during,’ he said. ‘And in the course of the course we will have to deal with reality. 

‘For a year we will no longer shake hands. We will no longer be attached to the tables in a pizzeria, we will go to the cinema and the theater keeping the safety distance. 

‘Crowded places will be avoided and more work will be done from home. We will live differently, but we will live. We must start again, however. Because the alternative is to shut yourself in and die.’

Matteo Renzi, Italy’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Italia Viva party, called on schools to reopen on May 4 – and warned the country risks rioting if people are locked up for too long

Members of the military stand guard outside the Michelangelo hotel in Milan, which is being used to house quarantined coronavirus sufferers

Medical personnel and patients are pictured at a newly set up intensive care unit in the physiotherapy assistance gym of the Poliambilanza hospital in Brescia

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