Italy ‘second wave’ fears grow as virus cases top 5,000

Italy was grappling Friday with fears of a second coronavirus wave similar to the ones seen in Britain, France and Spain, as it registered over 5,000 new infections in 24 hours.

“We’re under extreme pressure,” the World Health Organization’s Italian government adviser Walter Ricciardi said, warning that spaces in Covid-19 hospitals were running out in the worst-hit regions.

Italy registered 5,372 new cases Friday, the health ministry said, nearly 1,000 more than on Thursday. The country has not seen such high numbers of recorded new infections since mid-April.

New infections are still well behind Britain, France and Spain, which are registering between 12,000 and 19,000 cases in 24 hours.

But Ricciardi said the rise in cases could reach those levels in Italy just as winter begins and common influenza strikes.

“When the flu comes, we risk having 16 thousand cases in a day,” he said in an interview with broadcaster Sky TG24.

“I am very worried… (about) sub-intensive units because there are infectious patients who need to be treated in a certain way and beds are already running out. And that’s before the flu hits,” he said.

The government moved to tackle the sharp rise in case numbers earlier this week, making wearing face masks compulsory in outdoor spaces across the country, on top of all indoor spaces apart from homes. (AFP | Ella Ide)

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