Italy records lowest virus death toll in over two weeks

Cheryl Sanders
April 6, 2020

Civil Protection Agency chief Angelo Borrelli was asked in a Radio Capital interview whether national lockdown measures - in force since March 10 - could be lifted in mid-May.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 21,815 were declared recovered on Sunday, compared with 20,996 a day earlier.

In Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak, the daily death toll was slightly lower than the day before, coming in at 351 against 367 on Thursday, but new infections rose to 1,455 versus 1,292.

Officials also reported the first decline in the number of non-critical COVID-19 patients receiving hospital care.

In Bergamo province, where Sky News witnessed horrific scenes in the main hospital and where the mayor told Stuart Ramsay he was convinced the death toll was higher than that being reported, a recent study of death records found the true number could be more than double the official tally of 2,060, which only tracks hospital fatalities.

"Some images spread on social media, which show a relaxation in the behaviour of some people - fortunately only a few - should not be taken as an example, they should be deplored", said Domenico Arcuri, the government's special commissioner for the coronavirus emergency.

As the case numbers have flattened in Italy, there has been increasing discussion about eventually rolling back a lockdown that has closed most businesses and slammed the brakes on an already fragile economy.

Health minster Salvador Illa said: "The data from this week and today confirms the slowing down of infections".

"This figure is constantly decreasing", he said.

France on Saturday saw its daily death toll fall to 441 from 588 on Friday.

The number of critical patients edged down from 3,994 on Saturday to 3,977 on Sunday - the second successive decline.

Europe's biggest food market, in Rungis, south of Paris, is being transformed into a morgue.

However, the overall number of deaths was up as the government included more previously unreported deaths from nursing homes across the country - some dating back to the start of March.

Deaths fell from 588 to 441 in France, where almost 7,000 people are in intensive care, overwhelming hospitals and medical staff.

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