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Italy’s slowing infection rate boosts case for lockdowns

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Italy’s
coronavirus infections rate slowed for a fourth successive day Wednesday as
fresh evidence emerged that long and painful lockdowns against pandemics will
work.

The latest
data from the epicentre of the once-in-a-century outbreak comes with more and
more nations weighing whether to close their own stores and factories – and for
how long.

Analysts at
one of the big US investment banks said evidence from Italy this week could
determine whether much of the United States “will diverge or follow the Italian
trajectory”.

Almost
everything across the Mediterranean country has been closed for over two weeks.

Public
gatherings have been banned and much of the economy is set to remain in a state
of suspended animation for an indefinite time to come.

Analysts
think Italy is sliding into its deepest recession in generations as a result.

But it is
the price Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has decided to pay to slow the spread
of a disease that has now killed 7,503 in Italy and infected almost 75,000

“History
will judge us,” the increasingly popular Italian leader told parliament on
Wednesday.

“We must all
contribute to the common good,” Conte said. “The government has acted with the
utmost determination and speed.”

Wednesday’s
figures showed deaths staying within the high but relative narrow range they
had reached at the end of last week.

Health
officials reported 683 new fatalities and 5,210 infections.

The overall
rise in daily deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases slowed to 10 per cent.

It had been
as high as 57 per cent when the illness was still spreading exponentially on
March 8.

The daily
infections growth rate fell to a record low of 7.5 per cent.

The World
Health Organisation’s deputy director Ranieri Guerra sounded pleased.

“The
slowdown in the (infections) growth rate is extremely positive,” Guerra told
Italy’s Capitale radio.

“I think the
measures taken (by Italy) are absolutely correct – perhaps with a certain delay
at the start, but that is understandable.”

The
government-run National Research Council said 57 out of Italy’s 107 provinces
have already hit their peak of the virus spread.

The numbers
are improving “and the containment measures are delivering the desired effect,
even if we are in the initial phase of the slowdown,” the research council said.

Italy’s data
are being watched by global policymaker as they weigh the potential health
benefits of imposing national lockdowns against their damaging economic side
effects.

“The next
3-5 days are key to seeing if Italy’s lockdown measures are having an impact
and if the US will diverge or follow the Italian trajectory,” the Morgan
Stanley investment bank wrote on Tuesday.

“We do note,
however, that the number of mortalities has slowed from an exponential increase
since the lock down began,” the bank said.

There were
still worrying signs in Italian regions such as Campania around Naples and
Rome’s Lazio.

Deaths in
the Naples region rose from 49 on Monday to 74 on Wednesday.

Those in and
around Rome went up from 63 to 95 over the same span.

And deaths
in the northern Piemonte region around the industrial city of Turin rose from
315 on Monday to 449 on Wednesday.

The figures for all three regions represent jumps of around 50 per cent in two days.

source: AFP

The post Italy’s slowing infection rate boosts case for lockdowns appeared first on maltawinds.com.

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