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Italy positive signs as Europe tightens up
en.hangzhou.com.cn  2020/03/25 16:57  China Daily

Italy, the country most affected by the novel coronavirus in Europe, has recorded a smaller day-on-day increase in new infections for the second straight day on Monday, though officials cautioned it still too early to know if the worst is behind the country.

Figures from Italy's Civil Protection agency showed 4,789 new cases from a day earlier, nearly 700 fewer than the day-on-day increase of 5,560 new cases reported on Sunday.

As of Monday, Italy had reported a total of 63,927 confirmed cases and 6,077 deaths since Feb 21, the country's health ministry said.

Italy has been anxious to see the day-on-day figures go down as it starts a third week under a nationwide lockdown.

Health authorities have cautioned that it will be a few more days before they will know if Italy is at the beginning of a positive trend.

"These are crucial days. Woe to whoever lets down the guard," Health Minister Roberto Speranza said. "Now more than ever, the commitment of everyone is needed."

Italy's first known coronavirus patient was released from hospital on Monday, a month after he arrived in a critically ill condition. Authorities in Italy's hardest-hit region of Lombardy played an audio message recorded by the 38-year-old man in which he says, "You can get cured of this illness."

Countries in Europe-the epicenter of the pandemic-are taking intensified containment measures, including national lockdowns, restricting the movements of people, banning gatherings and shutting schools.

On Tuesday, restrictions were tightened in France to bolster a lockdown that was imposed last Tuesday. Under the new rules, French citizens who do want to travel will need to fill in a document explaining their reasons for doing so and carry it with them. If they are found to have violated the instruction, they risk being fined up to 135 euros ($145).

The pandemic has left many people feeling trapped indoors, but tens of thousands of volunteers have offered to help by shopping for urgent supplies, or just by simply keeping in touch.

Mostly through the use of social media, organizers have quickly assembled specialist support groups, reports the BBC.

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that the growing virus outbreak meant "the elderly and vulnerable" would be asked to "shield themselves by self-isolating".

ITV News highlighted Mutual Aid and other community support groups that have promptly been launched with neighbors, volunteers, councilors and anyone with free time grouping together.

"As a young person who's not at a high risk of dying, you feel responsible," said 17-year-old student Eleanor Anrade May, who helped set up the Devon Mutual Aid Group.

Author:By JONATHAN POWELL in London Editor:Wang Yueyun
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