Italy reported it lowest daily COVID-19 death toll in weeks on Sunday. Authorities are now looking ahead to “phase two” as the lockdown is eventually eased.
The total number of deaths from COVID-19 reached 15,887, about a quarter of the global death total, but the increase of 525 from a day earlier was the smallest increase since March 19. The number of people in intensive care units also fell for a second day.
Silvio Brusaferro, head of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy’s top health institute says “The curve has reached a plateau and begun to descend, It is a result that we have to achieve day after day.”
Following several days of encouraging data, Health Minister Roberto Speranza outlined a series of measures, including more testing and a beefed up local health system, intended to allow a gradual easing until a vaccine might be developed.
“There are difficult months ahead. Our task is to create the conditions to live with the virus,” at least until a vaccine is developed, he told the daily La Repubblica newspaper.
The minister said that he had issued a note that outlined five principles the government planned to use to manage the “phase two” of the crisis.
He said that social distancing would have to remain, the local health systems would be strengthened, and personal protective devices, such as masks, would be used.
Testing and “contact tracing” of exposed individuals would be extended, and a network of hospitals will be set up that are dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients.