Coronavirus claims another 837 victims in Italy as epidemic reaches ‘plateau’

Coronavirus claims another 837 victims in Italy as epidemic reaches 'plateau'
AFP/Sante Publique France
Another 837 people died on Tuesday from the new coronavirus, according to the latest daily figures from Italy's Civil Protection department, an increase from 812 on Monday. But the number of new infections continues to slow.

Some 12,428 people have now been killed by the virus in Italy.

But while the death toll remains high, the number of infections is rising at a slower rate each day.

Another 4,053 cases were confirmed on Tuesday March 31st, after 4,050 the previous and 5,217 on Sunday March 29th.

As a percentage, that means the number of cases has risen by +4.0%, +4.1% and +5.6% respectively.

According to the National Higher Health Institute, Italy’s coronavirus curve has reached a plateau but lockdown measures are still needed.

“The curve tells us that we’re at the plateau,” said the institute's president Silvio Brusaferro.

“That doesn’t mean we’ve hit the peak and that it is over but that we must start the descent and you start the descent by applying the measures in force.”

Italy still has 4,023 patients in intensive care, only around 40 more than on Monday, giving another sign that the epidemic had reached a plateau. In the early stages of the epidemic the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to intensive care was increasing by hundreds each day.

Worryingly Brusaferro acknowledged that the death toll may be higher than the official figures, which don't include people who died at home, in nursing homes and those who were infected by the virus but not tested.

“It is plausible that deaths are underestimated,” he said.

“We report deaths that are signalled with a positive swab. Many other deaths are not tested with a swab.”

READ ALSO: How Italy has changed the way it reports the daily coronavirus figures

In total Italy has confirmed 105,792 cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, including the deceased and recovered patients.

Another 1,109 people had recovered on Tuesday, figures showed, making a total of 15,729.The world is watching closely for evidence that the quarantine measures in Italy have worked.

While the estimated fatality rate is at around ten percent in Italy, experts say this is unlikely to be the real figure. The head of Civil Protection has said there are likely to be as many as ten times more cases in the country which have not been detected


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