Covid-19: Italy records biggest daily rise in new cases since lockdown ended

Covid-19: Italy records biggest daily rise in new cases since lockdown ended
Italian health authorities are continuing to urge people to take precautions against the spread of coronavirus. Photo: AFP
Italy recorded 840 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, which health officals said was the biggest daily increase since before the country's lockdown rules were eased.
Thursday's tally is the biggest rise since the 875 on May 16th, when Italy was still in lockdown, health ministry officials stated. Italy's strict lockdown, one of the world's longest, officially ended on May 18th, after being slightly eased on May 4th.
The 840 new cases recorded within the past 24 hours came after Wednesday's rise of 642.
The weekly average number of new cases is now 555, up by 122 (or 28 percent) from one week ago, official data shows.
“We are not in as bad a position as France and Spain, but the current situation is not satisfactory,” said Professor Massimo Galli, who heads the infectious diseases department at Milan's prestigious Sacco hospital.
“The end of confinement has resulted in an excessive feeling of false security,” he told the La Repubblica newspaper.
The total number of cases is now at 256,118, with 16,000 currently positive.
There were six new deaths, after seven on Wednesday, for a new overall toll of 35,418 victims.
The number of patients admitted to intensive care in Italy due to Covid-19 rose by two, to a total of 68.
The number of swabs was up too, to 77,000 – about 6,000 more than on Wednesday. While the actual number of tests carried out has increased, so too has the percentage of swabs that are coming back positive.
The regions which reported the most new cases on Thursday were Veneto with +159, followed by Lombardy (+154) and Lazio (+115).
Over the weekend, Italian authorities ordered the closure of nightclubs and tightened mask-wearing rules after the number of new cases detected in the country rose from 200-300 to 600 within one week.
Many of Italy's new cases have been attributed to holidaymakers – often Italians returning from abroad, health authorities said.
Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe by Covid-19. and was the first country outside of China to suffer an outbreak. However, Italy is generally viewed as having managed the crisis relatively well, with infection rates dropping following a strict and lengthy lockdown.
Italian government ministers and health experts have repeatedly insisted over the past week that, though cases have been rising again, outbreaks can be kept under control and schools will reopen in September as planned.
Authorities are urging people to continue to take basic precautions – wearing masks in public places, frequent hand-washing, and maintaining a distance from others.

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