Italy has recorded its highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases since lockdown restrictions were lifted in May, fuelling fears that a ‘second wave’ may be under way.
The country is already one of the worst affected by the pandemic in Europe, with tens of thousands of deaths earlier this year, but has so far managed to avoid a resurgence in the number of new infections.
There were 1,071 cases registered and a further three deaths in the last 24 hours, the health ministry reported earlier today.
That’s the first time the 1,000 mark has been crossed since May 12, Mail Online reports.
Numbers have picked up rapidly over the last few days with 947 on Friday, 845 on Thursday and 642 on Wednesday.
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Officials said there were 215 daily infections in Rome alone – more than the record 208 registered in the capital on March 28.
Rome’s health official, Alessio D’Amato, said the rise was due to people coming back from holidaying in areas like Sardinia.
More than 60% of the cases were linked to holiday-makers and Mr D’Amato said the movement of tourists and people partying had helped spread the virus.
He also warned most of the new infections were among young people who were not showing symptoms and authorities were working urgently to stop them transmitting it to older and more vulnerable family members.
Mr D’Amato appealed to the young, saying: ‘Be very careful especially with your relatives and the people dearest to you.’
He warned them to stay at home and not meet up with people while awaiting test results, adding: ‘don’t feel invincible.’
Italy saw the first major coronavirus outbreak in Europe and was badly affected weeks before other countries. It has recorded more than 257,000 cases, with more than 35,000 dead.
Hospitals in the Lombardy region were overwhelmed with patients and the whole country went into lockdown on March 9.
It’s now thought Lombardy again, as well as Venice and Rome, are seeing a rise in cases.
In response, the government closed nightclubs on August 17 and has made face coverings mandatory in busy public spaces between 6am and 6pm.
If numbers continue to rise, the country risks being taken off the UK’s safe list of travel destinations. Countries have been removed at very short notice after infection rates rose above 20 in 100,000.
Spain, the first country to be removed from the ‘travel corridor’, is continuing to see a rapid rise in infections, with an average of 3,000 new cases being announced every day.
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