Italy is to increase testing as it moves closer to the next phase in ending coronavirus lockdown – as it records its lowest daily death toll for more than two weeks with 525 fatalities taking the total 15,887
Italy is to ramp up coronavirus testing as it moves closer to the next phase of ending its lockdown after today recording its lowest daily death toll for more than two weeks.
The COVID-19 death toll rose by 525 to 15,887— the highest total of any country in the world— however, this marked its lowest daily increase since the 427 registered on March 19.
Furthermore, the number of people in intensive care (3,977), fell by 17 since Friday, and the number of cases rose to 128,948 from yesterday’s 124,632, a lower increase than the day before.
Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Roberto Speranza outlined plans for broader testing and boosted health services as part of a package of measures intended to ease Italy’s lockdown, imposed since March 9.
Italy’s government is also grappling with the economic devastation caused by the sudden halt to business across the country.
Speranza said he had issued a note outlining five principles around which Rome planned to manage the so-called ‘phase two’ of the emergency, when lockdown restrictions will start to be lifted but before a full return to normal conditions.
He said social distancing would have to remain, with wider use of individual protection devices such as face masks, while local health systems would be strengthened, to allow a faster and more efficient treatment of suspected COVID-19 cases.
Testing and ‘contact tracing’ would be extended, including with the use of smartphone apps and other forms of digital technology while a network of hospitals dedicated solely to treating COVID-19 patients would be set up.
‘Until a vaccine is distributed, we cannot rule out a new wave of the virus,’ Speranza told La Repubblica.
“There are difficult months ahead. Our task is to create the conditions to live with the virus.”
The national lockdown, strictly limiting people’s movements and freezing on all non-essential economic activity, will officially last until at least April 13, but it is widely expected to be extended.
“If we’re not rigorous, we risk throwing away all the efforts we’ve made,” Speranza said in separate comments to the Corriere della Sera, a daily in Italy.