Italy’s daily coronavirus cases hit new record, infections in Lombardy soar

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Italy has registered 24,991 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, a record high and up from 21,994 on Tuesday as cases in the northern region of Lombardy surged.

The ministry also reported 205 COVID-related deaths compared with 221 the day before.

The number of swabs carried out rose to a new record of 198,952 from 174,398 a day earlier.

Looking to slow the spread of the virus, the government this week imposed new restrictions on the country, ordering the early closure of bars and restaurants and shutting down gyms, cinemas and theatres, among other measures.

Demonstrators protest against the measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Verona, Italy, 28 October 2020. EPA-EFE/FILIPPO VENEZIA

A total 37,905 people have now died in Italy because of coronavirus, the second highest tally in Europe after Britain, while 589,766 cases of the disease have been registered to date.

The northern region of Lombardy, which includes Italy’s financial capital Milan, was the epicentre of the country’s original epidemic earlier this year and remains by far the worst-impacted as the second wave hits.

The region reported 7,558 new cases on Wednesday against 5,035 on Tuesday. The neighbouring Piedmont region had the second highest tally, chalking up 2,827 cases.

Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to the health ministry, was quoted as saying on Wednesday that both Milan and the southern city of Naples should be put under lockdown. The mayors of the two cities urged the government to reject the idea.

Wednesday’s data showed hospital admissions rose by 1,151 across Italy over the past day to 16,517, while intensive care patients rose by 125 to 1,536 — more than when the government introduced a nationwide lockdown in March.

Police attempts to control a protest against the measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Palermo, Sicily island, Italy, 28 October 2020. EPA-EFE/IGOR PETYX

In the meantime, Wednesday night saw protests in various Italian cities against the measures the government is adopting to curb the spread of infections.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced new nationwide COVID-19 restrictions that come into effect on 26 October, and include the closure of restaurants and bars by 6pm and shutting down gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.

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