Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Italy reports 534 new coronavirus deaths

Contagion curve slows significantly, but prime minister warns against any ‘irresponsible’ decision

Giada Zampano   | 21.04.2020
Italy reports 534 new coronavirus deaths

ROME

Italy on Tuesday reported 534 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, higher than a day before, bringing the total number of fatalities to 24,648, as the slowdown in the contagion curve continued.

According to the latest data released by the Italian Civil Protection Department, current infections fell for the second time in a row, by 528, to reach 107,709.

The number of recovered people climbed sharply to 51,600, while the number of intensive care patients continued to drop, easing pressure on Italy’s struggling healthcare system.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which now counts 12,579 fatalities, more than half of the total.

The government continues to struggle with planning the recovery phase, as each region pushes in a different direction, with a widening gap between the north and the south of the country.

Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the government intends to start lifting the nationwide lockdown “gradually,” always respecting the social distancing measures to keep the contagion curve under control.

The curve of deaths and infections has been flattening in Italy since the peak of the outbreak in early March. However, experts warned that resuming all activities without high sanitary standards and social distancing rules would increase the risk of a rebound in the virus' spread.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday morning, Conte ensured that his government is working non-stop to coordinate the "phase-2" of the emergency, that of "coexistence" with the virus.

The premier said that an immediate reopening of all activities would be “an irresponsible decision” and would risk to jeopardize all the efforts made by the Italian citizens until now.

"The easing of measures must take place on the basis of a well-structured and articulated plan," Conte said, adding that Italy "can’t abandon the line of maximum caution."

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