Italy's Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri said on Tuesday that he expects the spread of coronavirus to continue in a “gradual” and “controlled” way, adding that get-togethers with family and friends are a particular risk.
“Circulation of the virus will rise. It is undeniable,” Sileri told Italy's InBlu radio station.
“Contagions will continue to go up but they will do so in a gradual way, with the growth controlled via swabs and surveillance.”
“There are lots of hotspots and there will be an overlap with flu symptoms,” he said.
“But we do not have to worry. You spark panic when you talk about a second wave,” he added. “The second wave that we will experience all over the world is unlikely to be like the one of February and March because that would mean we are not using masks, not washing hands, and being close to each other”.
He said the highest risks of contagion were no longer in hospitals but at get-togethers with family and friends.
“In previous months hospitals were amplifiers of the the virus, but that does not happen now because there are protocols, like there are in care homes,” he said.
“Today I am much more worried about family Sunday lunches and dinners with friends”.
Italy is currently reporting around 1,500 new coronavirus cases per day on average, which is relatively low and stable compared to the recent surge in cases seen in many neighbouring countries.
Health minister Roberto Speranza has previously ruled out future national lockdowns and insisted outbreaks are “under control” at current levels, as their origins can be traced.
The country continues to enforce rules on mask-wearing and social distancing in public places, and has kept many other restrictions in place, including on crowds at sporting events and travel from outside the EU, until at least October 7th.
Italy was the first country outside China to face a major coronavirus outbreak, but has recently managed to keep infection rates relatively low compared to
Spain, France and Britain.