From: Wagner, Jonathan
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 11:05:38 AM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
To: Wagner, Jonathan
Subject: *ITALY REPORTS 2,972 NEW VIRUS CASES, FEWEST IN ONE MONTH
Italy reported its fewest new coronavirus cases in a month on Tuesday, as a government-appointed task force seeks to map out a way to ease a nationwide lockdown that’s crippling the economy.
There were 2,972 new cases of the disease — the fewest since March 13 — compared with 3,153 a day earlier, civil protection officials said at their daily briefing in Rome. The decline comes as testing slowed down over the Easter holiday weekend. Confirmed cases in the country now total 162,488.
Italy registered 602 deaths linked to the virus, compared with 566 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 21,067.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended containment measures until May 3, and has appointed Vittorio Colao, former chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, to head a team that will help the country’s firms gradually restart activity, depending on the spread of the disease.
The government is considering allowing some companies in the automobile, fashion, design and metalworking sectors to reopen later this month but the priority remains the health of employees, according to two officials who asked not to be named discussing confidential plans.
Unions are more reluctant than business managers to reopen, and Conte is also being urged by medical advisers to be cautious.
“Reopening work sites also means reopening some social activities — how will workers reach the factory, where do they eat?,” Luca Richeldi, a pulmonologist at Rome’s Agostino Gemelli hospital and a member of the scientific and medical committee advising the government, said in an interview. “We need precise studies on protective measures in these contexts.”
“Italy is like the first competitor to head down the ski run, because of our long lockdown,” Richeldi said. “We’re going to smooth the path for others to follow, which gives us more responsibility because we don’t want to make mistakes for our country, or that could be replicated by other nations.”
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