Italy’s coronavirus infection rate seemingly slows while death toll climbs

Italy’s coronavirus infection rate seemingly slows while death toll climbs
Source: Al Jazeera

Italy reported 743 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), on March 24, recording its second-highest daily record since the beginning of the outbreak in the country.

A total of 69,176 cases and 6,820 deaths have been reported in Italy so far, with most of the cases reported in the northern regions of the country. Italian authorities estimate that the number of cases may be ten times higher than reported due to restricted testings.

Testing is only done on patients who come forward and experience severe symptoms. “A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible,” the head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, Angelo Borrelli, told La Repubblica newspaper that some 700,000 people could possibly have been infected.

Possible slowdown in cases

Despite the increase in daily death numbers, local health officials say that the infection rate has been slowing down. The slowdown is believed to have resulted from the two-week control in public movement. Borrelli noted that data on whether the growth curve of the coronavirus is indeed “flattening” will be made available soon.

Italy has reached two weeks of its national lockdown, without much success in lowering the number of deaths, which have been consistently reported in triple digits.

Patience wears thin

As the virus-hit country enters a second month of the deadly outbreak, Italians are losing patience with those who refuse to practise social distancing or obey lockdown rules.

Various mayors of major Italian cities and state governors have expressed their frustrations regarding the attitudes of some residents who ignore social distancing rules. “I’m getting word that someone is having a graduation party. We’ll send in the carabinieri (paramilitary police), we’ll send them in with a flamethrower!” said Vincenzo De Luca, governor of the southern Campania region around Naples, in a video posted on Facebook.

The mayor of Messina, a harbour city in the northeast of the island of Sicily, told residents that he will ban them from setting foot on public property. “You will not ‘stroll’ in my town. I can’t formally ban you from leaving your house? I will ban you from setting foot on public soil unless for proven necessities,” said Mayor Cateno De Luca.

The police are also constantly called over people strolling on streets and on dog walkers.


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