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COVID-19: Italy deaths cross 13,000, lockdown extended

COVID-19: Italy deaths cross 13,000, lockdown extended
Country reports 727 fatalities over past 24 hours, active cases now over 80,500

By Giada Zampano

ROME (AA) -- Italy reported 727 more deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 13,155.

While Italy’s death toll remains the highest in the world, the number of fatalities and new cases being reported is lower than figures seen over the past few weeks.

Active cases were up 3.8% from Tuesday, reaching 80,572, while the number of recovered COVID-19 patients rose to 16,847.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which accounts for 7,593 of the country’s total fatalities.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Wednesday informed the parliament that the government plans to extend the nationwide lockdown until April 13.

"We must not view the first positive signs as an all clear signal,” he said.

“The data shows we are on the right path and that our drastic decisions are bearing fruit."

However, he warned, that the “battle is still very long”.

The lockdown extension was widely expected but the government faces growing fears of social unrest, especially in the poorer southern regions.

To curb the rising risk of social turmoil, the government is mulling over an unprecedented emergency handout, focusing on workers who were employed in Italy’s large underground economy and lost their jobs due to the lockdown.

source: News Feed
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