Lockdown 'ruled out' as Italy hits new daily infection record

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

 ROME – As Italy hits a new daily record of more than 8,000 Covid infections, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ruled out a lockdown on Milan, the capital of Lombardy and worst affected region.

 Speaking last night at a conference in Brussels, Mr Conte answered questions on speculation the Lombard capital may be shut down following the latest data showing a surge in daily infections.

 “I do not expect a lockdown on Milan,” he said. “At this moment, we must put our trust in the behaviour of all citizens, which has been our strength.

 “If citizens do not have confidence in the measures that we recommend, they do not express that sense of responsibility, of cohesion, the sense of belonging to a common destiny and pursuit of the same goal, results are not achieved. We must focus on that.”

 Mr Conte’s comments came after Italy reported 8,804 coronavirus cases on Thursday – a new daily record. In Lombardy, more than 2,067 infections were recorded, with 26 Covid deaths, sparking fears that the resurgence could overwhelm hospitals in the region.

 “Only if we’re quick can we take more restrictive measures without shutting everything,” said epidemiologist Vittoria Demicheli, the Medical Director of Ats (Health Protection Agencies). “But everyone must give up something.

"A projection was made on what could happen in the next month with regard to the commitment of the health service. The risk, if no action is taken to limit infections, is that within 30 days in hospitals the pressure will return to the levels of last spring, even if for the moment in Lombardy the situation is not a red alert: there are beds in hospitals, it is a question of committing a greater number of them to Covid patients, redistributing the pressure between the wards."

 The Conte government is also clashing with the region of Campania over school closures, following Governor of the Campania Vincenzo De Luca’s decision yesterday to close schools until Oct. 30.

 “Closing schools in this way is not the best solution,” Mr Conte said.

 De Luca imposed the measure after Campania’s Covid cases exceeded 1,100 on Thursday.

 Meanwhile, news of the Bel Paese’s highest ever daily tally of coronavirus infections, has prompted the British government to remove Italy from the safe travel list.

  This means those travelling from Italy to the United Kingdom now face a mandatory two-week isolation period. The measure takes effect at 4 a.m. Sunday.

 And, MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi and multiple world swimming champion Federica Pellegrini are the latest sports stars to test positive for Covid-19.

 Yamaha confirmed nine-times world champion Rossi will self-isolate and miss next Sunday’s Aragon MotoGP.