Covid-19: Italy records over 31,000 cases in a day as doubts remain over new lockdown

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Covid-19: Italy records over 31,000 cases in a day as doubts remain over new lockdown
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italy reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Friday, with over 31,000 people testing positive in a 24-hour period. But the government remains hesitant to tighten current restrictions.


The latest health ministry figures fuelled an ongoing  national debate over whether Italy should further tighten its measures to slow down the virus, with many saying rules brought in on Monday won't be enough.

READ ALSO: Can Italy really avoid a second lockdown?

"Over 31,000 cases and 199 deaths. I ask you one question: what are you waiting for?" virologist Roberto Burioni said on Twitter as he pushed for tighter curbs.
The situation "is getting worse across the country," the chief of the Superior Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro told a news conference, flagging in particular "a rise in the number of people ending up in intensive care".
Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the pandemic in March, reported 31,084 new cases Friday, raising the nation's total to over 325,000.
Over 38,000 people in Italy have now died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to official figures.
It is unclear what the government's response will be to the continued rise in new cases.
"I cannot say whether or when a (full) lockdown will be decided," said Domenico Arcuri, the government's special commissioner for the coronavirus
He said "the number that is worrying us most at the moment is hospitalized patients," which has risen to nearly 17,000 people.
On Thursday he urged people in Italy to travel "as little as possible" and warned that hospitals were starting to struggle.
He insisted that Italy does not currently have “real problems” with capacity in intensive care units, but said “we have a serious problem with hospital crowding."
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new nationwide coronavirus restrictions Sunday after the country's case numbers began shooting up, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests.
Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools all closed, while restaurants and bars stopped serving at 6pm.


Seven regions have also imposed evening curfews, with Valle d'Aosta in the north set to join them on Saturday and become the eighth.
Conte has said he wants to give the latest measures two weeks to take effect before deciding whether a fuller lockdown is needed.
Find all The Local's latest coronavirus updates here.


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