ITALY unveiled a plan to end its month-long lockout after daily deaths fell to their lowest level in two weeks.
The country has been the hardest hit by coronaviruses in Europe, with almost 129,000 confirmed cases and 15,887 deaths.
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But yesterday, Italy reported its lowest daily toll of Covid-19 casualties since March 19, at 5:25 a.m., after diving under Britain for the first time the day before.
The number of patients in poorly stretched intensive care units also declined for the second consecutive day, while new cases saw their smallest increase in five days, increasing by 4,316.
And as a sign of hope for the UK, Italian health leaders are now discussing how to lift the lockout restrictions as part of the country’s “phase two” strategy against coronaviruses.
Silvio Brusaferro, director of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy’s largest health institute, said: “The curve has reached a plateau and started to descend.
“It is a result that we must achieve day after day.
“If this is confirmed, we have to start thinking about the second phase and limit the spread of this disease. “
There are difficult months ahead. Our task is to create the conditions for living with the virus. “
Roberto Speranza, Italian Minister of Health
Health Minister Roberto Speranza described a series of measures, including more tests and a strengthened local health system, aimed at allowing gradual relaxation of the restrictions.
“There are difficult months ahead. Our job is to create the conditions to live with the virus, “at least until a vaccine is developed,” he told La Repubblica.
The national closure, strictly limiting population movements and freezing all non-essential economic activity, will officially last until April 13 at least.
But it is widely expected to be extended, and Speranza said it was too early to say when he could be lifted.
The minister said he had released a note outlining five principles around which the government plans to deal with the so-called “phase two” of the emergency – when the lock-in restrictions start to be relaxed but before a full return to normal conditions.
He said social distancing should remain, with wider use of personal protective devices such as face masks.
And local health systems will be strengthened to allow faster and more effective treatment of suspected Covid-19 cases, he added.
Tests and “contact tracing” would also be extended, including the use of applications for smartphones and other technologies, while a network of hospitals dedicated solely to the treatment of corona patients would be set up, did he declare.
But despite the light at the end of the tunnel, the authorities insisted that the Italians do not indulge.
Angelo Borelli, head of the civil protection department, said yesterday at a daily briefing: “Don’t lower your guards, stay at home. “
Positive signs were also reported elsewhere in Europe over the weekend.
France reported a daily slowdown in the number of deaths in the past 24 hours and Germany its fourth consecutive day with a decline in new confirmed cases.
The lockdown “will end in June with the staggered release of certain workers or areas”
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And in Spain, the death toll has dropped again today, with 637 patients dying overnight, bringing the total to 13,055, the government said.
Although Spain has the second highest death toll in the world after Italy, the number of deaths every day has declined since the peak of 950 on Thursday, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
Monday’s data showed that the total number of cases increased from 4,273 to 135,032 – up from 130,759 the day before.
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