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Italy reports sudden spike in coronavirus cases as lockdown rules relax

By Mirror | May 20th 2020 at 09:10:00 GMT +0300

A sharp uptick in both infections and deaths was reported today.

After a general decline in coronavirus cases, and a sharp dip yesterday in both diagnosed infections and deaths, Italy has recorded a sharp spike that threatens to be the beginning of a second wave.

According to official Italian government figures there were 162 deaths in the country on Tuesday, compared to 99 reported on Monday.

Monday’s figures marked the first time the country had recorded less than Covid-19 100 deaths in one day since March.

Italy was the first European country to suffer a major coronavirus outbreak, and for some time was the worst-affected country in Europe, before the UK moved into first place.

Italy is currently the sixth-worst affected country worldwide, with 226,699 confirmed cases of which 706 are listed as critical. The 162 deaths recorded today brings the country’s total death toll to 32,169.

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Italians had been celebrating the end of lockdown as the government’s strict movement restriction had been relaxed.

Monday saw the official start of “phase two” of the easing of the lockdown, and while masks and in some places gloves are compulsory, bars and restaurants are reopening.

Beauticians are allowed to serve customers again – as long as they wear a mask and a plastic PPE face shield.

Gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres are expected to follow soon.

“I can taste the fullness of the flavour much more,” Umbrian local Sandro Urbani told The Guardian as he drank a glass of wine at Caffè Barrique in Orvieto. “It’s as if I’ve been on a diet over the past few months and all of a sudden I can eat a slice of salami.”

At the weekend, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said that he knew he was taking a chance when he relaxed the lockdown restrictions: “We are taking a calculated risk, aware that the contagion curve could rise again.”

But, he said, “we cannot wait for a vaccine.”

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