Milan is a ticking coronavirus ‘bomb’ under phase two, virologist warns

Milan is a ticking coronavirus 'bomb' under phase two, virologist warns
People stroll along the Navigli canals in Milan on May 8th. Photo: AFP
Milan is a coronavirus time "bomb" at risk of a new wave of contagion, an Italian virologist has warned, with "a very high number of infected people" now moving around.

Photos of crowds in Milan's canalside area sitting, walking, or enjoying aperitivo in the sunshine, many without wearing masks or respecting social distancing rules, were splashed over the front pages of Italy's main dailies on Friday, sparking angry comments under the hashtag #navigli on Italian social media.

The city in the northern Lombardy region is at the epicentre of Italy's outbreak, one of the worst in Europe in terms of deaths and infections.

More than 80,000 infections have been recorded in Lombardy – almost 40 percent of Italy's overall cases – according to official data.

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Only 33,000 of Lombardy's cases are considered recovered.

The region's capital Milan, is “a bit of a bomb,” said Massimo Galli, the head of the infectious diseases department at the renowned Sacco hospital in Milan.

“We have a very high number of infected people returning to circulation,” he said in an interview with the La Repubblica newspaper, referring to the easing of lockdown measures on May 4.

Galli said it was clear the easing of the lockdown “may present problems”.

Milan's Mayor Giuseppe Sala slammed the canal-side behaviour as “shameful” and issued an “ultimatum” on social media, threatening to close down the well-known aperitif area of Naviglio if people persist in flouting the rules.

Milan and much of northern Italy was put under lockdown exactly two months ago, days before the rules were rolled out nationwide.

Lombardy has logged some 15,000 deaths, around half of Italy's 30,000 coronavirus fatalities, since the outbreak first erupted in early March.


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