Italy's health ministry announced another record high number of new coronavirus cases at 24,991, up from 21,994 on Tuesday.
There were 205 deaths in the past 24 hours, and the number of known currently positive cases in the country is at 276,457.
While Lombardy continues to be by far the worst-hit region, authorities said new cases are no longer concentrated in some northern areas but are rising across Italy.
“The epidemic is now widespread throughout Italy and no longer localised,” said Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) earlier on Wednesday.
“The Rt index, which describes the speed of spread of the virus, gives the idea of the growth we are experiencing: it is now greater than 1 in all regions, and often far exceeds that.”
The median age of those infected is “today about 40 years, in the peak period it was 60-70. In the summer period about 30 years,” he said at a Senate health commission hearing.
Brusaferro stressed that it is “important to identify the asymptomatic” because “identifying people who carry the virus is the first frontier to stop the infection.”
“We need to keep the curve of new infections below a certain threshold, making sure that people identified as positive can be traced.”
As the contagion curve continues to rise steeply, Italian health experts have urged the government to enforce stricter measures despite protests across the country this week by business owners and workers affected by the current closures.
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