THE rate of increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 has slowed down for the second day running in Italy.
By last night, 63,928 citizens were infected with the virus — up from 59,138 24 hours earlier. However, the rise was almost 700 fewer than the day before.
A total of 6,077 people have died, an increase of 602 since Sunday — 49 fewer than 24 hours previously.
The figures were released by Italy’s Civil Protection agency as signs emerged that the upwards curve in infections in Germany is ‘flattening off’.
Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Robert Koch public health institute, said the apparent slowdown was due to social distancing measures, along with restrictions on public gatherings.
‘We are seeing signs that the exponential growth curve is flattening off slightly,’ Mr Wieler told journalists.
By Sunday, there were 22,672 cases of coronavirus in Germany, with 86 confirmed deaths.
The country has a mortality rate of 0.4 per cent, compared with 9.2 per cent in Italy and 6.1 per cent per cent in Spain. It has 28,000 intensive care beds and is aiming to double that.
Italy has been anxious to see day-to-day figures for new cases and deaths go down as it starts a third week under a nationwide lockdown. Its health system is struggling under the weight of the world’s largest Covid-19 outbreak outside of China.
But authorities have warned that it will be a few more days before they will know if the country is at the beginning of a positive trend. Silvio Brusaferro, a senior national health official, said: ‘We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favourable situation.’
Meanwhile, the mayor of Bergamo — Italy’s worst-hit town — has brought his daughters home from England because he believes they will be safer. Giorgio Gori’s girls have been studying in Taunton, Somerset, and Canterbury in Kent.
He told Sky News he felt Britain should ‘absolutely’ be enforcing a similar lockdown to the one he ordered in Bergamo, Lombardy, to try to control the outbreak’s rapid spread.
He said: ‘When I saw what the English government was thinking about this problem I decided to bring them back.
‘Even if we’re at the centre of the epidemic, probably they are more secure here than in England because I don’t understand why the government didn’t decide in time to protect the citizens.’
Mr Gori spoke out as streets remained deserted in Bergamo.
Many families have been denied final moments with dying relatives, while the pressures on cemetery space prompted military trucks to transport 65 bodies to a neighbouring region for cremation.
Any outdoor exercise not on personal property has been banned and distance limits have been set on dog-walking.
Austria mobilises its army in frontline fight
AUSTRIA has mobilised army reservists on its streets for the first time since World War II to aid the fight against the virus.
The country, which still has compulsory military service for men aged over 18, will ask 3,000 reservists to take over tasks for three months. They will help with food supplies and provide medical support, said defence minister Klaudia Tanner.
Austria has reported nearly 4,000 cases and 21 deaths so far.
Meanwhile, ski resorts in Tyrol region have emerged as hotspots for the spread of the virus. A bar in Ischgl is under investigation for allegedly failing to report that a worker fell ill.
Bars at the resort stayed open for weeks, with Ischgl linked to hundreds of cases in Austria, Germany and Scandinavia.