Italy on Saturday reported 889 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total number of victims to 10,023, the highest in the world.
The latest figures provided by the Italian Civil Protection Department, however, showed that both the daily death rate and the increase in contagion cases grew a bit slower than Friday.
Current contagions rose by 5% to reach 70,065, compared with a 7% rise on Friday. The total number of recovered people reached 12,384.
The epicenter of the outbreak in the country remains the northern Lombardy region, which counts 5,944 victims alone.
Italian experts said on Friday that the country had not reached the peak of contagions yet, but added that since March 19-20 the curve had shown a slowdown.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said on Saturday it had seemed “unrealistic” that the almost total lockdown imposed on Italian citizens would end, as planned, on April 3.
The government is expected to approve a new emergency decree by the beginning of April that would likely extend the lockdown measures for at least another two weeks.
In a televised news conference on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the government will provide local administrations with up to €4.3 billion ($4.8 billion) from an existing solidarity fund, to help them meet the needs of the struggling citizens.
In addition, the government will also provide mayors and local administrators with €400 million ($446 million) to be used exclusively on people, who cannot afford buying food and basic goods due to the economic fallout.
“Nobody will be left alone […] We need to help those who are struggling the most,” Conte said.
The government’s move comes after local authorities reported episodes of people assaulting supermarkets and claiming they had no money to pay, especially in the poorer southern regions.
Conte has also promised a new package of measures aimed at shielding the country’s struggling economy from a painful recession. He said the new measures would worth at least €25 billion ($27.9 billion).
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