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Italy records new surge in daily coronavirus cases

Recent rise may lead to 2nd wave of contagions when schools reopen in Sept, experts warn

Giada Zampano   | 21.08.2020
Italy records new surge in daily coronavirus cases

ROME

Italy recorded 947 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, up from 845 a day before, confirming the surging trend in new infections registered over the past two weeks.

According to the latest Health Ministry data, the daily increase in new cases touched the same levels recorded in mid-May, when the Italian government started easing its stringent lockdown measures.

The outbreak has caused 35,427 deaths nationwide, and infected more than 257,000 people, thus far.

Italian authorities started tightening restrictions again in mid-August as new COVID-19 cases started rising from a daily average of 200-300 to around 600. The surge has now become exponential.

Italy has been among the worst-hit globally by the pandemic but its strict lockdown measures have been credited for the containment of the outbreak.

Authorities and scientists are now worried that a second wave of contagions could be sparked by the reopening of schools in mid-September.

Experts have attributed the recent increase in infections to large gatherings, especially youths, eager to enjoy nightlife and beach resorts at the peak of the summer season.

Holiday goers coming back from countries at higher risk -- including Croatia, Spain and Greece -- have also been requested to take tests at their arrival in Italy.

The higher number of new infections, however, is also because of an increase in tests performed daily, which is much higher than in the early stages of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, despite the recent rise in contagions, the daily death toll remains low and is often in single digits. According to Friday’s data, Italy registered nine fatalities compared to six on Thursday.

Italy’s new daily contagions also remain much lower than those recently registered in other hard-hit European countries, such as Spain and France.

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