Hope for Italy as daily rate of infections and death numbers both fall

New hope for Italy as daily rate of infections and number of deaths both fall, with 7.5 per cent rise and 683 fatalities compared to 8.2 per cent and 743 dead yesterday

  • On Tuesday 743 people died, following 602 deaths on Monday, 650 on Sunday
  • Saturday saw the highest daily death figures as the number had surged to 793
  • The total number of confirmed cases has risen to 74,386 from a previous 69,176
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Italy’s coronavirus death toll has jumped by 683 to 7,503, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike yesterday.

On Tuesday 743 people died, following 602 deaths on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday – the highest daily figure since the deadly bug emerged in the country on February 21.

The total number of confirmed cases there has risen to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said.

Italy’s coronavirus death toll has jumped by 683 to 7,503, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike yesterday. Pictured: Medical and paramedical personnel of the retirement home Giovanni XIII, undergo coronavirus tests in Rome

The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said. Pictured: Elderly hosts of the retirement home Giovanni XIII, are being evacuated to hospital in Rome

A clergyman looks at 45 coffins in the San Giuseppe church in Seriate today, before they are taken to the city of Ferrara because local authorities can no longer handle the number of bodies

The head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, was not present at the customary news conference to illustrate the data because he came down with a fever on Wednesday.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 9,362 had fully recovered on Wednesday compared to 8,326 the day before.

There were 3,489 people in intensive care against a previous 3,396.

The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy reported a sharp fall in the number of deaths compared with the day before, but remained in a critical situation, with a total of 4,474 deaths and 32,346 cases.

That compared with 4,178 deaths and 30,703 cases reported up to Tuesday. 

The glimmer of hope comes hours after it tragically emerged a nurse in the region killed herself after testing positive for coronavirus and fearing she had infected others.

Daniela Trezzi, 34, was working on the front line of the coronavirus crisis at a hospital in Lombardy.

Daniela Trezzi (pictured), a 34-year-old nurse in northern Italy, killed herself after being infected with coronavirus and fearing she had spread the disease to others 

The 34-year-old nurse was working on the front line of the coronavirus crisis at a hospital in Lombardy, the worst-affected region of Italy

A volunteer nurse wearing a mask tends to a homeless person in Milan last night. Thousands of health workers have themselves been infected with coronavirus 

The National Federation of Nurses of Italy confirmed her death and expressed its ‘pain and dismay’ in a statement last night. 

The federation said the nurse had been suffering ‘heavy stress’ because she feared she was spreading the virus while trying to bring the crisis under control.

Daniela Trezzi had been working on the intensive care ward at the San Gerardo hospital in Monza, around nine miles from Milan, but was in quarantine after showing coronavirus symptoms and testing positive for the disease.   

The nursing group also revealed that ‘a similar episode had happened a week ago in Venice, with the same underlying reasons’. 

‘Each of us has chosen this profession for good and, unfortunately, also for bad: we are nurses,’ the federation said. 

‘The condition and stress to which our professionals are subjected is under the eyes of all.’ 

A volunteer nurse wearing a mask tends to a homeless person in Milan in the early hours of this morning 

Doctors and nurses at work in the intensive care department of Casal Palocco Hospital ‘Covid 3’, Rome, Italy today 

The general manager of San Gerardo hospital, Mario Alparone , said Daniela had been at home sick since March 10, and that ‘she was not under surveillance’.

Judicial authorities are now investigating her death, according to local media.

Figures released by an Italian research institute yesterday showed that some 5,760 health workers had been infected with coronavirus. 

Nino Cartabellotta, the head of the Gimbe foundation which collected the data, urged this ‘phenomemon’ must be ‘curbed to safeguard those who take care of us’.

Health officials across Italy are poring over every new piece of data to see whether two weeks of bans and closures have made a dent in the crisis.

However, some officials have cautioned that it is still too soon to say if Italy is about to see a peak in the outbreak.

A man wears the free protective mask for citizens just received in a pharmacy yesterday in Venice. Volunteers of the Civil Protection have delivered 75 masks to every pharmacy and newsstand in the municipality of Venice

Customers have their temperature checked at the entrance of a supermarket in Milan yesterday

People wait in line in front of a supermarket in Grotta Perfetta street during the Coronavirus emergency in Rome, Italy today 

Vatican employees furious at lack of full shutdown amid virus outbreak  

The Vatican is under pressure to let more employees work from home as its offices remain open two weeks after the Italian government ordered Italians home and shut down all non-essential businesses in an urgent attempt to contain the coronavirus.

On the same day the Vatican confirmed four positive cases, Vatican employees in three different offices expressed alarm Tuesday that superiors had adopted different work-at-home policies that forced some to continue showing up. 

Concern about exposure risk has been heightened because many Vatican employees live in priests’ residences or religious communities and eat together in communal dining rooms.

A handout picture provided by the Vatican Press Office, shows Pope Francis celebrating holy mass in Santa Marta church at the Vatican yesterday 

A handout picture provided by Vatican Media yesterday shows Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus prayer, broadcasted in streaming due to the coronavirus emergency, Vatican City, on Sunday 

A view shows a deserted entrance of the closed Vatican Museums today in the Vatican during the lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic

Two religious orders in Rome have already been quarantined after several sisters tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, Rome’s health service sent its crisis unit to a nursing home run by an order of nuns after several elderly residents got infected. Nationwide, more than 50 priests with the virus have died, most of them elderly and from the hard-hit northern Lombardy region, the Italian bishops’ conference said.

Vatican offices that handle particularly sensitive issues – such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – told employees to show up five days a week to prevent documents, files and archives from leaving the office, according to one employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to officially speak to the media.

Officials at the Vatican office that oversees the church’s work in the developing world, known as Propaganda Fide, still require employees to come in at least twice a week. The requirement means staff members who live outside of central Rome must commute using public transportation, said Karlijn Demasure, whose husband works in the mission office.

‘The whole of Italy closes down but not so the Vatican, at least not Propaganda Fide,’ Demasure wrote on Facebook. ‘It is dangerous, moving between cities, trains, metro and buses. I cannot believe that this is actually happening!’

A general view shows a deserted queuing area at the entrance of the closed Vatican Museums today in the Vatican during the lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic

On Tuesday, the Vatican repeated that its offices would remain open. It said individual department heads should arrange for ‘essential services’ to be provided to the church with the minimal personnel on hand and ‘incentivizing as much as possible remote working.’

It also announced another three positive cases, including two employees of the Vatican Museums, bringing its total to four.

The government ordered Italians to stay home except for reasons of absolute necessity starting March 10. On Saturday, it approved another ordinance suspending non-essential production and other industry, shutting down factories that aren’t explicitly necessary to keep Italy’s food, energy and other necessary sectors going.

The Vatican secretariat of state – the main governmental body of the Holy See – on Monday issued new guidance for employees about whether they needed to come into work. According to the advisory, a copy of which was seen by The Associated Press, the secretariat of state urged people to work from home where possible but said employees should come to the office if they lived in Vatican City or nearby.

This photo taken and handed out yesterday by Vatican Media shows Pope Francis celebrating a private morning mass broadcast from the Santa Marta chapel in the Vatican, during the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic

The guidance also suggested employees could use annual vacation allotments now instead of work, though few would voluntarily give up their traditional holidays in August, when the Vatican and the rest of Italy essentially shut down.

The Vatican, a 108-acre walled city state in the heart of Rome, approved virus-containment measures two weeks ago. But its workplace policies during the public health emergency lag behind the rest of Italy, which has the most virus-related deaths of any country in the world.

Pope Francis himself has complained that he feels like he is in a cage. He slipped out of the Vatican on March 15 to pray at two Rome churches and to take a mini-pilgrimage walking along a deserted Via del Corso, a main street in the Italian capital’s historic center.

Accompanied by his usual security detail, the 83-year-old pope took the outing five days after a nationwide lockdown confining Italians to their homes with limited exceptions went into effect. The pope also has continued meeting with his top advisers in person at the Vatican, according to his daily schedule.

Religious leaders around the world and from all faith groups have been confounded about how to provide spiritual and other assistance to their flocks while following health guidelines urging everyone to stay home and avoid congregating. Some have balked at lockdown measures, and continued to keep churches open.

Even the U.S. bishops conference issued advice at odds with the prevailing health recommendations elsewhere. In an infographic tweet Tuesday, the U.S. conference suggested the Catholic faithful in the U.S. use their COVID-19 time at home essentially as a staycation, urging them to exercise, go for a walk with friends, get to know a neighbor better or learn to play a new instrument with a family member. Italian police are barring people from taking walks and socializing, and public health authorities suggest that even family members practice ‘social distancing’ given the high degree of contagion within the home.


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