Rome, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- Italy’s coronavirus infection rate rose on Thursday after two consecutive days of decline bringing it closer to the number of cases detected in China since the outbreak began in the Asian country late last year.
The country’s Civil Protection agency said authorities had detected 4,492 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall total to 80,539, some 62,013 of which remain active.
Lombardy, the worst-hit region in the country, accounted for some 2,500 of those new cases.
The agency said 662 people had died in the same period, a decrease on the previous two days, bringing the total death toll so far to 8,165, more than double that recorded in China.
New infections have fallen to zero on a domestic level in China, where authorities are now focusing on curtailing a recent increase in imported cases. The Asian nation, where Covid-19 originated, has an official case count of 81,281, just under 4,000 of which are still active.
Around 22,189 cases are active in the region of Lombardy, home to Milan, 8,850 in Emilia Romagna, 6,140 in Veneto and 5,950 in Piemonte.
Of the total infected, 3,612 are in ICU, 24,753 are in hospital while another 33,500 are isolating at home.
The jump in infection rates following two days of downward trend could be attributed to an accumulation of tests returning with results on Thursday, according to Agostino Miozzo, the deputy director of the Civil Protection.
“It’s a hypothesis that we have to verify in the coming days, but there is one clear thing, there is no magic or immediate solution to this type of pandemic.
“The important thing is that the speed of the transmission curve seems to be slowing.”
World Health Organization representative Ranieri Guerra said the restrictive measures adopted by the Italian government seemed to be bearing fruit.
“It is important not to let our guard down, flatten the curve, in the coming days we hope to have a sustained decrease in figures.”
The deputy director of the Civil Protection agency made it clear that the isolation measures in place in Italy would remain until the virus was brought under control.
Experts and doctors from China, Cuba and Russia have flown to Italy to help local authorities tackle the outbreak. They are soon to be joined by a group of German health workers.
The president of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, said his region needed doctors and nurses as the hospitals were overwhelmed.
Medical professionals from across the country have been sent to hospitals in Bergamo and Brescia in Lombardy and Piacenza in Emilia Romagna, to bolster the efforts there. EFE-EPA