The governor of the Italian region with the largest percentage of residents older than 65 has apologised for a tweet which contended the elderly aren’t indispensable to the country’s production, as Italy battles COVID-19.
The newspaper Corriere della Sera said Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti, in a meeting Sunday with government ministers, had advocated limiting movement outside the home for those older than 70 in a bid to avoid a generalised, nationwide lockdown amid surging spread of coronavirus infections.
“For as much as every single COVID-19 victim pains us, we must keep in mind this data: Only yesterday among the 25 deaths in Liguria, 22 were very elderly patients,” Mr Toti tweeted on Sunday.
They are “persons for the most part in retirement, not indispensable to the productive effort” of the economy, tweeted Toti, who is 52.
Nearly 29 percent of Liguria’s residents are older than 65, compared to a nationwide percentage of just under 23 percent.
Maurizio Gasparri, a 64-year-old senator, slammed Toti’s assessment of the elderly’s value as “delirious.”
Apologising for what he termed “misunderstandings,” Toti later claimed his tweet was “badly extrapolated” and blamed it on an error by his social media manager.
Italy ponders tighter coronavirus restrictions as numbers grow
Italy registered nearly 2,000 fewer new COVID-19 infections in its daily caseload Sunday, but it also conducted some 32,000 fewer swab tests to detect the virus in the last 24 hours.
With 29,907 confirmed new infections, Italy’s total known coronavirus cases in the pandemic grew to 709,335, according to Health Ministry figures.
Weekends often see fewer tests carried out. Since Saturday, the deaths of 208 infected persons were registered, raising to 38,826 the number of known dead in the pandemic, the second-highest confirmed toll in Europe.
Italian government officials have been consulting with scientific advisers and regional and municipal representatives as Premier Giuseppe Conte ponders tighter restrictions he is expected to order this week to try to slow the galloping spread of contagion, especially in the areas of Milan in the north and Naples in the south.
Protests rage in Italy despite appeals for calm
After days of protests over the Italian government’s pandemic restrictions, the country’s president has appealed to people to put aside partisan politics and pull together.
President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday visited a cemetery near Brescia, a northern city in Lombardy, the region which has largely borne the brunt of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak to pay tribute to those who died from COVID-19.
Mattarella said he chose the cemetery because that’s where someone carried out the “ignoble theft” of a cross placed there in memory of pandemic victims.
The head of state recalled Italy’s more than 38,000 confirmed dead in the pandemic, including “the many who died in solitude.”
He called for Italians, “whatever one’s role or convictions,” to unite with the “common aim of defending people’s health and assuring the economic revival of our country.”
Right-wing opposition leaders have been railing against the center-left government’s infection-prevention measures, contending they unfairly penalize and don’t reflect their input.
UK lockdown may last longer than first feared
A British government minister says a new national lockdown in England may have to last longer than the planned four weeks if coronavirus infection rates don’t fall quickly enough.
The lockdown is due to run from Thursday until Dec. 2. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it is needed to stop hospitals becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients within weeks.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said Sunday that “with a virus this malignant, and with its capacity to move so quickly, it would be foolish to predict with absolute certainty what will happen in four weeks’ time.”
Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants can only offer take-out, non-essential shops must close and people will only be able to leave home for a short list of reasons including exercise.
Other venues that must close including bowling alleys, gyms, pools, golf courses, driving ranges, dance studios, horse riding centers, soft play facilities, climbing walls, water parks and theme parks.
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