Italy’s Covid-19 deaths spike while cases plateau

Italy’s Covid-19 mortality rate has continued to spike while the rate of new cases have inched lower, health experts said, but warned against relaxing the incumbent restrictions.

On Thursday, the country, one of the worst-hit in Europe, reported 29,003 new cases, an increase from 25,851 a day earlier, but the daily figure stayed below 33,000 for the 10th time in 13 days since the infection rate topped 40,000 on November 13.

The new cases has increased the overall tally to 1,509,875.

The GIMBE Foundation, a health sector observatory group, said on Thursday that for the first time since the start of the second wave in September, the weekly number of infections has declined.

But its President Nino Cartabellotta warned that the apparent progress on the infection rate did not mean the government should ease therestrictions when it releases its next coronavirus decree on December 3.

“An imprudent relaxation of the measures risks a new inversion of the curve by the end of the year, which, as we all know, could again overload hospitals at a time when the seasonal flu is on its way,” Cartabellotta said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appeared to heed scientific warnings, telling the Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica that the new decree would exercise “great caution” while balancing health concerns and the popular desire for Italians to visit family over the December holidays.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza made a similar point, telling news agency ANSA: “We cannot afford another wave at the beginning of 2021, and so we must maintain the highest level of prudence.”

In contrast to the infection rate, deaths from the pandemic continued to rise.

The Health Ministry reported 822 fatalities on Thursday, which increased the overall death toll to 52,850.

The new figure is still below the one-day record high of 921 recorded in March, during the firstwave of the outbreak, and 853, the peak of the second wave recorded on Tuesday.

But it is up from 722 a day earlier and part of a clear rising trend over the last two weeks.

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