Corona in Italy: Deaths surged amid hopes that the worst was over

The Civil Protection Agency of Italy said on Tuesday that fatalities in the country caused due to the coronavirus have surged since the last one day amidst hopes that the numbers of those infected in the past two days was slowly easing.

The figures

Death toll on Tuesday alone (24 March 2020) – 743 (second highest daily tally in the region).

Death toll on Monday (23 March 2020) – 602

Average death toll per month in the country – 6820

No. of positive cases as on Tuesday (24 March 2020) – 69,176

However, the head of the Civil Protection Agency of the country said that the true number of infected people was probably 10 times higher since the country was only testing and treating people with severe symptoms. Another report says that a total of 700,000 people in the country has been infected so far.

The latest data is a disappointment for the country that has taken so many stringent measures in containing the virus. The country has been locked down for the last two weeks along with schools, bars and restaurants that also remained shut. Also, the citizens were not allowed to leave their homes other than for just meeting or buying essential needs. Also, the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte increased the fine imposed to people for leaving their homes from 206 euros to 3,000 euros.

“Every one of us must play our part,” he told reporters at a news conference held by remote video link to avoid contagion.

“If everyone obeys the rules they don’t only protect themselves and their loved ones, but they will enable the whole national community to come out of this emergency.”

Economy badly hit

The authorities of the country mentioned that the current restrictions will continue to be in place atleast till April 3 but there is speculation about this date being pushed forward considering the current rise in the number of infected cases.

However, a decree issued by the government on Tuesday gave the government the power to extend the deadline to July 31. Conte said that he hoped to loosen curbs “well before then”. Also, it is forecast that the Italian economy has been badly hit and will shrink by more than a 11% this year.

The Civil Protection Agency, however, said the biggest difficulty faced by the health service was the shortage of masks and ventilators – a problem that has affected the hospitals from the inception of the outbreak.

As a solution to this problem, the regional governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, ordered the confiscation of ventilators at veterinary surgeries, saying they could be converted to human use. Also, a group of Italian textile and fashion companies have converted their production lines so that they can manufacture half the required amount of these masks.

“(This) will give our system the ammunition that we need in order to fight this war and avoid our total dependence on imports,” Domenico Arcuri, the national commissioner for the emergency, told reporters.

The government has said a number of industrial sectors, including medical suppliers, must keep operating during the crisis, but there is growing unhappiness amongst some unions who think the list of strategic concerns is too wide.

“The last thing that Italy can allow itself is industrial conflict in a situation of national emergency,” deputy Economy Minister Antonio Misiani told SkyTG24 television.