The number of new coronavirus cases continued on a downward trend in Italy after its first day in which more people recovered from the disease than were infected.
The number of new coronavirus cases dropped by 851 cases Thursday. 464 people were confirmed to have died of the Chinese virus, while 3,033 people were confirmed to have recovered from the disease.
The number of people hospitalised with the virus has also declined by 934, with 22,871 in hospitals across the country, 2,267 of them in intensive care units, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports.
The number of Italians infected with the disease and quarantined in their own homes, however, increased by 200 to 81,710.
The encouraging data could set the stage for the Italian government’s “phase two” strategy which should see it begin slowly opening up the country and allowing more shops to open under certain conditions.
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While the country may begin to open again, it is expected that rules on mask-wearing and social distancing will remain in place.
Neighbouring Austria has implemented similar measures, with shopping centres and hardware shops allowed to be open and other businesses, such as hairdressers and barbers, set to open their doors as well on May 1st.
While current trends remain positive, Italian health experts have urged caution over ending the national lockdown.
Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Instituto Superiore di Sanita (ISS), spoke to reporters on Friday, saying: “The virus is still circulating. Everywhere in the country we have to be very careful.”
Brusaferro warned that if social distancing measures and other measures were not respected the infection rate could climb again in two weeks or less.
He also added that as many as 90 per cent of Italians have not been exposed to the virus, far below the required 60 to 70 per cent for any possible “herd immunity” benefits.
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