The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 602 to 6,077, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said yesterday, the smallest rise in numerical terms since Thursday, suggesting a clear downward trend.
However, the number of new cases have also begun to decrease, raising hope that perhaps the most aggressive phase of the outbreak in the country could be passing. There were just over 600 registered on Monday compared with 651 on Sunday.
It means new cases are down 27 per cent in two days - the lowest number of new cases since March 17 and a sign the country may be starting to bend the coronavirus curve.
The number of total infections grew by 4,789, or 8 percent from 59,138 cases recorded on Sunday. The head of Italy's national health institute, Silvio Brusaferro said it was too soon to say if the recent decline in daily deaths and new cases would continue.
"We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favourable situation.", Brusaferro said.
Unions in Lombardy earlier announced they would strike on Wednesday to protect the health of their workers, saying a government decree temporarily shutting businesses due to the coronavirus emergency contained too many loopholes. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
However, testing for the disease has often been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning that thousands of cases have certainly gone undetected.
In Milan, the capital of Lombardy. which is by far Italy's worst-hit region, regional health officials declared themselves moderately optimistic after day-to-day increases of both positive test results and of hospitalizations of new patients with COVID-19 were smaller. But they expressed renewed worry about the need for additional intensive care beds.
He said the biggest difficulty facing Italy was a shortage of masks and ventilators - a problem that has dogged the health system since the contagion first surfaced in the wealthy northern region of Lombardy on February 21. "We are contacting the embassies, but I fear no more masks will be arriving from overseas", he said.