Italy prepares for ‘Phase-2’ of COVID-19 response as deaths surge past 23,000


Rome (Italy): The Italian government is now preparing for the ‘Phase-2’ of its response to fight the coronavirus outbreak as the tally of deaths surged past 23,000 on Saturday (local time), after 482 more people succumbed to the contagious infection in the past 24 hours.

The total number of confirmed cases — combining active infections, fatalities and recoveries — rose to 175,925, an increase of 3,491 against Friday, Xinhua news agency reported after citing data from Italy’s Civil Protection Department.

“We are experiencing a large-scale tragedy (and) we have not defeated it yet — these are the hard facts,” Domenico Arcuri, the Italian government’s special commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, said at a Saturday’s press conference.

To prevent this tragedy from repeating after the end of the nationwide lockdown, Arcuri said: “We must continue to act with the caution and the prudence we have learned over the past months.”

The lockdown that went into effect on March 10 will continue until May 3, which will be followed by a so-called “Phase Two,” involving “the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities,” the Italian government has explained.

Arcuri said that there is no competition between health and economic recovery. “Without health and safety, the economic recovery would last the blink of an eye,” he warned.

The commissioner also said: “For Phase Two, we are ready to supply the national territory with all the needed equipment today. This does not mean that Phase Two should begin today.”

He added that a new contact-tracing mobile phone app, commissioned by the government, is “being tested.” The next step will be to roll it out in some parts of the country on an experimental basis.

Arcuri also said that according to experts, at least 70 per cent of the population should use the app in order to achieve meaningful results. (ANI)