Italy records smaller increase in COVID-19 cases for second straight day

Cheryl Sanders
March 25, 2020

The number of cases of coronavirus in Italy is probably 10 times higher than the official tally of nearly 64,000, the head of the agency that is collating the data said on Tuesday.

On Monday 602 people died following 650 deaths on Sunday and 793 on Saturday - the highest daily figure since the disease came to light on February 21.

Follow live updates on coronavirus " A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible", Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, told La Repubblica newspaper, indicating he believed as many as 640,000 people could have been infected in the country.

Borrelli also said that Italy was benefiting from the solidarity of several countries in its fight against the COVID-19, and especially thanked "the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, France, and Germany, all of which have provided us with additional staff and means against the epidemic".

Borrelli also confirmed that former Civil Protection Department chief Guido Bertolaso has tested positive for the virus.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was expected to address parliament Wednesday afternoon on his government's efforts to mitigate the crisis.

Measures will be decided month by month as the situation evolves, said Conte, adding: "We hope to loosen the grip of the restrictive measures very soon".

The spike in the number of coronavirus deaths in Italy comes even as the country has been on lockdown for two weeks.

Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri noted that Italy's economy contracted "sharply" in March and will likely do the same in April amid the lockdown measures, according to Bloomberg News.

On Monday 602 people died.

Underscoring the problem, the regional governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, ordered the confiscation of ventilators at veterinary surgeries, saying they could be converted to human use.

The government has ordered industrial sectors, including medical suppliers, to remain operational during the outbreak.

"The important thing is not to arrive at that point", he told the Times.

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