Italy maintained a declining trend in active COVID-19 infections and intensive care cases, one day after it eased the national lockdown, according to the latest numbers released by the Civil Protection Department.
Health authorities registered 98,467 active infections on Tuesday, down from 99,980 a day earlier, continuing the trend since April 20, when the country reported a drop in total active infections for the first time, according to the report.
Tuesday also saw 2,352 additional recoveries, bringing that total to 85,231.
As 236 new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, the pandemic has claimed 29,315 lives since the first outbreak was recorded in the northern Lombardy region.
Of those infected, 1,427 are in intensive care, down by 52 compared to Monday, and 16,270 are hospitalized in normal wards, down by 553. The rest, or 82 per cent of those who tested positive, are in isolation at home.
The total number of COVID-19 infections, fatalities and recoveries since the pandemic began has risen to 213,013.
Italy eases back the world’s longest nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Monday. Four million people returned to their construction sites and factories as the economically and emotionally shattered country tries to get back to work.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte commented on the end of the lockdown in an interview with Affari Italiani (Italian Affairs), which he posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
“The resumption of manufacturing activities and construction took place in an orderly way,” Conte said.
“The road ahead is still long, but Italy is starting up again”, he added.
“I am confident that both in terms of the economic response and of the battle against COVID-19, Europe will be up to this historic challenge,” Conte said.
With regards to US President Donald Trump’s blaming of China for the virus, Conte said that “right now we think the priority is to foster international cooperation as much as possible as an essential tool in order to defeat the virus and safeguard global health.”
In a report out Tuesday, National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said that “over the course of just five weeks”, the pandemic has triggered a “sudden and vertical collapse” in the airline industry.
In Italy as of 2017, this industry had a turnover of 9.4 billion euros (US $10.2 billion) and employed about 20,000 people, while a total of 193 million passengers transited through Italy’s airports in 2019 (up by 7.4 million compared to 2018), according to ISTAT.
The lives of Italians began closing in around them as it became increasingly apparent that the first batch of infections in provinces around Milan were spiralling out of control.
In March this year, 66.3 per cent of flights were cancelled, and passengers dropped by 85 per cent (from about 14 million in March 2019 to just over 2 million in March this year).
ISTAT also reported that the number of passengers arriving and departing from Italy’s airports dropped from just under 460,000 on February 23 to 6,780 on March 29.
Weeks later Italy followed suit, becoming the first Western democracy to shut down virtually everything in the face of an illness that has now officially killed 28,884 — the most in Europe — and some fear thousands more.
The danger of the virus spreading with them and incapacitating the south’s less developed health care system forced Conte to announce a nationwide lockdown on March 9.
Italy’s staggered reopening is complicated by a highly decentralised system that allows the country’s 20 regions to layer on their own rules.
(With inputs from agency)