Italy reports record number of recoveries as government looks at relaxing lockdown rules

Italy reports record number of recoveries as government looks at relaxing lockdown rules
The colours of the Italian flag were projected onto the Rialto bridge in Venice on April 16th as a sign of hope in this difficult and delicate moment for Italy. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP
Italian health officials on Friday said Italy has seen a record high number of recoveries, and a new low number of Covid-19 patients being treated in hospital.

The number of people currently being treated for Covid-19 rose by only a few hundred for the first time since the outbreak began.

Figures from the civil protection service showed the number of those receiving hospital care or recovering at home under medical supervision rising by 355 to 106,962 on Friday.

But the figure outside the outbreak's Italian epicentre in Milan's northern region of Lombardy went up by just 11 cases.

It went up by 344 in Lombardy itself.

The number had been rising by at least 1,000 a day nationally for over a month.

“In absolute terms, we have had had the highest number of recoveries since the start of the crisis,” civil protection service chief Angelo Berrelli told reporters.

A doctor checks on a patient in the intensive care unit of the Casal Palocco hospital near Rome. Photo: AFPI

taly's official death toll still rose by another 575 fatalities Friday to 22,745 – the second-highest toll after the United States.

The number of new officially registered infections rose by 3,493 on Friday – about the same as it has been all week.

The generally improving picture prompted the civil protection service to announce that it was suspending daily briefings and moving to a twice-a-week format. New figures will still be issued daily.

“Phase two”

The Italian government is still debating how and when it should start lifting the national lockdown, which has left millions furloughed and unemployed.

The current restrictions are due to expire on May 3rd, and the government is planning to partially lift stay-at-home orders in regions where new cases have sharply dropped.

The government's public health council chief Franco Locatelli hinted Friday that restricted may be eased in regions south of Rome, which are less affected by the outbreak.

READ ALSO: When will it be possible to travel to Italy again?

“We have prevented the spread of contagion in southern regions. This is now a fact supported by (Friday's) figures,” Locatelli said.

But the scale to which businesses are allowed to open across the economically stronger north, much harder hit by the outbreak, will be determined by the number of deaths and recoveries reported over the coming days.

Italy is still digging though data from individual regions to determine the health and economic effects of its worst crisis since World War II.

READ ALSO: Venice slowly comes back to life under local 'soft lockdown' rules

Previously undisclosed figures from its public health institute revealed that nearly 17,000 medics have been infected with the virus since Italy's first Covid-19 death was recorded on February 21.

Several Italian doctors have expressed fears that infected health care workers may have been unwittingly spreading the disease to their patients in the early weeks of the outbreak.

Covid-19 has now killed 125 doctors in Italy, according to study released Thursday by the Fnomceo medical association.

Media reports on Friday said that at least 34 nurses have also died of the disease.

Italy's official death toll is thought to be underestimated.

Doctors now believe that Italy's real number of deaths could be double the official figure in some of the worst-hit provinces around Milan.

Photo: AFPI


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