Italy warned it has ‘two weeks’ to stop rising rates

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Italy has two weeks to stop the rising rate of transmission of coronavirus or it risks “following in the footsteps” of European neighbours where exponential spreads have ushered back harsh restrictions, an Italian virologist has warned

Italian health officials have declared that the resurgence of Covid-19 has reached an “acute phase.” Massimo Galli, the director of infectious diseases at Milan’s Luigi Sacco hospital, said Italy’s surge — which hit pandemic highs of new daily infections this week — is not the result of record testing, as policy makers have suggested, but a sign of a real return among the population most at risk.

It only takes a look at Sacco’s Covid-19 ward, a few steps from Galli’s office, to raise the alarm, the Associated Press news agency reports.

“We have a situation that reminds one quite distressingly of the one that we already have experienced,’’ said Galli, referring to the peak in March and April when the surge in infections resulted in a one-day record of 969 deaths.

On Friday, the region of Campania, which includes Naples and which has been under pressure since early September, closed schools until the end of the month — angering the government in Rome.

That came after Italy reported a new daily record of confirmed virus cases — 8,804 — on Thursday, including more than 2,000 in Lombardy and 1,000 in Campania. After hovering around 40 for days, the death toll surged to 83, one-third of those in Lombardy.

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