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Sign of slowdown: 766 new coronavirus deaths in Italy

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 3, 2020
Italy on Friday reported 766 more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 14,681, still the highest in the world, but apparently confirming signs of a slowdown.
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The continued slowdown in the rise of infections – down from the double-digit increases seen in the early stages of the outbreak – point to a possible peak for the contagion.

Topics: Coronavirus Italy

Current infections grew 2.8% from Thursday – down from 3% a day before – to reach 85,388. The number of recovered people also continued to surge, reaching 19,758.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which now counts 8,311 victims, more than half of the total number.

To respond to the prolonged emergency, the Italian government on Wednesday extended an almost-total lockdown – which has halted most production and business activities in Italy – for another two weeks, until at least April 13.

Premier Giuseppe Conte said that the government would start softening the strict measures only when scientists give the go-ahead for such a move, but stopped short of providing a specific date.

On Friday morning, Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection, said in a radio interview that the lockdown could be lifted, with a so-called “phase 2” starting around mid-May.

However, he was later forced to walk back his comments, as they sparked a controversy over the government’s communication on the lockdown rules, which have often been criticized as contradictory.

Borrelli clarified that any decision on the lockdown will be up to the government – which will decide as usual after consulting its scientific advisors – and that no date has been set for now.