In Italy, the COVID-19 daily death toll—a closely watched indicator of how the outbreak might be receding—rose again today, but new cases fell sharply.
At 636, the death toll in Italy is still far short of the highest tally of 971 recorded a week ago, suggesting that the peak has passed. But deaths are up more than 100 from the previous daily number of 525.
Meanwhile, underscoring the notion that the outbreak is losing momentum, the total number of new cases dropped to the lowest level in two weeks.
Italy currently has the highest death toll anywhere in the world, if Chinas much-maligned official statics are to be believed.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, rose by just 3,599 to 132,547, marking the lowest rise since March 17.
According to Reuters, the number of people in intensive care also dropped for the third day in a row.
Italy was one of the first major hot spots for the virus outside of China, as COVID-19 began to gain a foothold in Europe.
Italy began a nationwide lockdown on March 9, which will currently expire by law on April 13. That end date, however, does not mark the point at which officials believe the lockdown will end—its just as far as lawmakers wanted to extend it for the meantime.
Officials have indicated that they have no plans to lift the lockdown by any particular date, despite initially indicating that it might be lifted in mid-May.
Italys worst-hit region is Lombardy, in the northeast of the country.
Authorities in the region, which is home to the capital, Milan, have begun testing health workers for antibodies that may help identify individuals with immunity, reported Reuters.
Lombardy authorities have also now ordered anyone outside to cover their nose and mouth using home-made or improvised masks.
Interest in the use of face coverings to block the spread of the virus has grown after initially being dismissed by the majority of health advisers in Europe and America who initially said masks were only useful to frontline medical staff.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday recommended that all Americans should start to wear cloth face coverings in public settings.
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