Thursday, 01 October, 2020

Italian coronavirus cases likely '10 times higher than reported'

Italy has been in lockdown since March 12More Italy has been in lockdown since March 12More
Deanna Wagner | 25 March, 2020, 20:11

Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation's infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalized virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said Monday.

On Monday 602 people died following 650 deaths on Sunday and 793 on Saturday - the highest daily figure since the disease came to light on February 21.

The death toll had increased by 601 from 5,476 recorded by Sunday, Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli told a late afternoon press conference.

As of yesterday (24th March 2020), over 743 deaths were reported in Italy, bringing the national total now to 6,820 deaths as a result of Covid-19.

The number of recoveries had also increased, with 408 more people cured by Monday, reaching a total of 7,432.

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Italian authorities on Monday hoped that the daily drop in deaths would mark a turning point in the fight against the viral pandemic.

"Of the 50,418 people who are positive, some 26,522 are now under home isolation - being asymptomatic or with light symptoms - another 3,204 are in intensive care, and all the other hospitalized in ordinary wards", he specified. On Tuesday, the government also allowed itself the power to extend the deadline to July 31.

Measures will be decided month by month as the situation evolves, said Conte, adding: "We hope to loosen the grip of the restrictive measures very soon".

Investment bank Goldman Sachs forecast on Tuesday that the Italian economy, already teetering on recession before the outbreak hit, would shrink by more than 11% this year.

The government has shut down all non-essential business until April 3 and the cabinet was due to meet later on Tuesday to tighten the screws still further, including hiking fines for people violating the shutdown to up to 4,000 euros ($4,300) from a maximum 206 euros at present. But Deputy Economy Minister Antonio Misiani told Reuters the coronavirus emergency made such restrictions redundant.