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Coronavirus deaths in Italy surge to 366 as emergency measures come into force

The number of coronavirus deaths jumped by a record 133 in the past 24 hours, while 622 patients have recovered, health officials stated on Sunday. Here's the latest news.

Coronavirus deaths in Italy surge to 366 as emergency measures come into force
Photo: An artist wears a mask while painting on a bridge in Venice, which is now subject to emergency quarantine measures. Photo: AFP

The death toll from the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose to 366 on Sunday, shooting up from 233 on Saturday.

The number of infections also rose by a single-day record of 1,492 on Sunday to hit a total of 7,375, the Civil Protection Agency stated.
 
 
This figure is a total number of cases since the outbreak began in Italy more than two weeks ago, and includes the fatalities as well as patients who have now recovered.
 
The country now has the most deaths of any country outside China, and the second-most COVID-19 infections in the world, after the number of cases rose by a single-day record of 1,492 to 7,375.
 
Civil Protection Agency head Angelo Borrelli told a news conference that of those originally infected, 622 had fully recovered.
 
This means there are currently 6,387 active cases in Italy.
 
Some two thirds of all of those currently infected have been hospitalised, authorities said.
 
 
Borrelli said Italy was ordering 22 million surgical masks to help stop the spread.
 
Italy has recorded the most deaths of any country outside China and the second-most COVID-19 infections in the world. The majority of the deaths were in the Lombardy region in northern Italy, the civil protection agency said.
 
While Italy's coronavirus fatality rate is estimated at around 3.8 percent of confirmed cases, experts warn there may be an unknown number of undetected cases.
 
All of Italy's 20 regions are affected as of Thursday, with the data showing the virus had reached the Aosta Valley on the French border.
 

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The majority of the deaths were in the Lombardy region in northern Italy, the civil protection agency said.
 
The northern Lombardy region around Milan had started “experiencing difficulties with the (number of) beds available in hospitals”, officials said.
 
“We have beds available in other regions to help Lombardy,” Borrelli told reporters.
 
 
Italy is ordering 22 million surgical masks to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, the civil protection agency said.

Over 15 million people were meanwhile adjusting to quarantine measures after the government effectively shut whole swathes of the north, beginning with the Lombardy region.

 
The Italian government signed an emergency decree early on Sunday morning placing the entire region of Lombardy, including Milan, as well as Venice, Padua, Parma, Rimini and other parts of northern Italy under emergency quarantine measures for nearly a month.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated in a press conference held in the early hours of Sunday morning that he had signed off on plans to strictly limit movement in and out of the affected areas.

New rules aimed at controlling the spread of the virus are in place until April 3.

 

Photo: AFP

 
According to the WHO, around 80 percent of people who contract the new coronavirus recover without needing special treatment.
 
Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
 
Some 3.4 percent of cases are fatal, according to the latest WHO figures.
 
Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

 
Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here

READ ALSO: The everyday precautions to take against coronavirus if you're in Italy

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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