Italy, told by Chinese experts to do more, now leads world in Covid-19 deaths

Rome, Mar 19 (efe-epa).- Italy on Thursday surpassed China as the country with the most deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, even as Chinese experts said the European nation must do more to combat that acute respiratory illness.

The number of Covid-19 deaths and active cases in Italy rose to 3,405 and 33,190, respectively, while a total of 4,440 people there who had contracted the disease have since recovered, according to the latest figures provided at a press conference by Civil Protection chief Angelo Borrelli.

China has reported 80,928 total coronavirus cases and 3,245 deaths, although its active cases are down to 7,263.

The northern region of Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, accounts for 2,168 deaths and nearly 20,000 of Italy’s total active cases, while the pandemic also is spreading quickly in the neighboring region of Emilia-Romagna, where 5,214 active cases and 531 deaths have been reported.

Nationwide, the number of people hospitalized with symptoms climbed to 15,757 on Thursday, up from 14,363 on Wednesday, while 2,498 patients are currently listed in serious or critical condition, compared with 2,257 on Wednesday.

A delegation of nine Chinese experts who have been assisting hard-hit Italy with its coronavirus response since March 13 said earlier Thursday that the country must enact stricter measures to prevent further spread of the disease.

The head of that Chinese Red Cross delegation, Sun Shuopeng, said in a press conference Thursday in the northern Italian city of Milan, capital of the most-affected Lombardy region, that there are still too many people on the streets.

“You’re not having very strict lockout policy of the city because public transportation is still working, people are still moving around and you’re having dinners and parties in hotels and you’re not wearing masks,” Sun said via a consecutive interpreter on a day in which China reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago.

“What (Italy) is experiencing right now is similar (to what happened) in the city of Wuhan,” he said, adding that achieving a halt to coronavirus infections will require paralyzing “all economic activity and cutting the mobility of people.”

“All people should be staying in home for quarantine,” he said. “And we need everybody to be fully prepared for the protection of lives because the lives of our people is the most important matter right now.” EFE-EPA


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