Disturbing photos as Italy tops 1000 daily cases for first time in months

·4-min read

Italy registered 1210 new coronavirus cases Sunday, the highest daily number since May 12 and only weeks after it saw new infections plunge to about 200 a day.

The health ministry also reported 1071 new cases on Saturday, which was the first day since May the daily count topped 1000.

The latest spike is driving fears of a second wave of COVID-19.

Italy, one of Europe's worst-hit countries with more than 35,000 deaths, had managed to contain the outbreak after a peak in deaths and cases between March and April.

Worshipers, some wearing a face mask, attend the Pope's weekly Angelus prayer at St. Peter's Square in The Vatican on August 23, 2020 during the pandemic. Source: AFP/Getty Images
Worshipers, some wearing a face mask, attend the Pope's weekly Angelus prayer at St. Peter's Square in The Vatican on August 23, 2020 during the pandemic. Source: AFP/Getty Images

However, it has seen a steady increase in infections over the last month, with experts blaming holidays and night life for causing people to gather in numbers.

The country last recorded a higher figure on May 12, when 1402 cases were reported, six days before restaurants, bars and shops were allowed to reopen after a 10-week lockdown.

Despite the rise in infections, daily death tallies remain low and are often in single figures. Saturday saw just three fatalities, compared to nine on Friday and six on Thursday, health ministry data showed.

coronavirus
coronavirus

The number of new infections remains considerably lower than those registered in Spain and France.

On Saturday, Lazio, around Rome, was the Italian region to see the largest number of new cases, with 215.

Of these, around 60 per cent were people returning from holidays in other parts of Italy and abroad, the region's health chief said.

The northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, where Italy's epidemic first came to light on Feb. 21, saw 185 and 160 new cases respectively.

Italy has taken countermeasures to try to stem the recent uptrend, shutting down clubs and discos and making it compulsory to wear a mask at night in outdoor public spaces.

Travellers from several non-EU countries have been banned from entering Italy, with restrictions and testing obligations imposed on people returning from hard-hit European countries.

Tourists ‘begrudgingly’ follow virus rules on holiday

In tourist hotspots, like Tuscany, locals were keen to restart the economy, as were officials who said restarting travel in the summer was key to prevent further damage to the economy, according to Italy’s The Local.

However, this also means those working in the tourism industry are putting their health at risk.

Startling aerial images of a packed beach in Tuscany show tourism in the area is booming.

The images taken earlier in August show hundreds of umbrellas lining the shores of Tyrrhenian Sea beach in Tirrenia, in the Tuscany region.

An aerial view taken from the HH412C helicopter 'Volpe 220' of the Pisa Air Section of the Guardia di Finanza of vacationers on the so-called 'White Beaches', in Rosignano Solvay, Tuscany region.Source: EPA
An aerial view taken from the HH412C helicopter 'Volpe 220' of the Pisa Air Section of the Guardia di Finanza of vacationers on the so-called 'White Beaches', in Rosignano Solvay, Tuscany region.Source: EPA

To ensure those on vacation are not indulging in any illegal activities amid the pandemic, the Italian 'Guardia di Finanza' law enforcement agency does patrol flights over inland areas and the seacoast, EPA reported.

One woman who works for a five-star hotel in Italy’s most popular tourist destinations said while staff at the hotel wear face masks, guests often won’t.

“Perhaps five per cent of them actually enter the hotel with a mask on,” the woman who chose to remain anonymous told The Local.

 An aerial view taken from a helicopter of the Pisa Air Section of the Guardia di Finanza of vacationers on Tyrrhenian Sea beaches in Tirrenia, Tuscany region, Italy, 15 August 2020. Source: EPA
An aerial view taken from a helicopter of the Pisa Air Section of the Guardia di Finanza of vacationers on Tyrrhenian Sea beaches in Tirrenia, Tuscany region, Italy, 15 August 2020. Source: EPA

“When we kindly ask the other 95 per cent to put the mask on, there is a moment of begrudging acquiescence.”

Sicily's governor has ordered all migrant residences on the Italian island to shut down by Monday, part of a push-back by Italian regions alarmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases a few weeks before schools reopen.

But while some new migrants have tested positive, vacationers returning from Mediterranean Sea resorts abroad as well from the Italian island of Sardinia have accounted for far more of Italy's new infections.

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