Italy records 219,814 coronavirus cases, ICU patients drop under 1,000

2020-05-12 02:55:42 GMT2020-05-12 10:55:42(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 30,739 lives in Italy after a daily rise of 179 deaths, according to the latest data released by the country's Civil Protection Department on Monday.

A total of 744 new infections were recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases combining infections, fatalities and recoveries to 219,814 since the pandemic began in late February.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases decreased by 836 compared to Sunday, making the nationwide total to 82,488.

Monday also saw 1,401 additional recoveries, bringing that total to 106,587.

Of those infected, 999 are in intensive care, down by 28 compared to Sunday. It's the first time the number of patients in intensive care dropped to below 1,000 since March 11.

Up to 13,539 people are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 79. The rest, or 82 percent of those who tested positive, are in isolation at home.

New economic support measures

A week after the national lockdown was eased, the country's various social actors keep trying to size up the impact of the health emergency in terms of risks and recovery perspectives.

A new reopening of activities are expected in the next two weeks: retail shops, museums, galleries, and libraries would restart from May 18, and bars, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons from June 1, according to the government schedule.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's cabinet is at work on new economic decree to provide further support measures to companies struggling with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The new package, expected to be passed in a cabinet meeting late Monday night or Tuesday, contains provisions worth some 55 billion euros (US$59.4 billion), local media reported.

This will come after a first 25-billion-euro package was approved in March, and a second in April providing liquidity and favorable bank loans for businesses.

Industrial production plummets

In March, Italy's industrial production decreased by 28.4 percent compared to the previous month, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

"All of the main economic sectors show negative trend variations," ISTAT wrote in a report on Monday.

"The most relevant are those in the manufacture of means of transport (-52.6 percent), textile, clothing, leather and accessories industries (-51.2 percent), machinery and equipment (-40.1 percent), and metallurgy and metal products (-37.0 percent), while the lowest decrease is recorded in the food, drink and tobacco industries (-6.5 percent)," it explained.

Also on Monday, Italy's largest retail and trade association Confcommercio warned some 270,000 companies would be at risk of closure, if economic conditions will not improve quickly in the months immediately after the lockdown.

The forecast focused on retail and wholesales (excluding food) and on services, and was based on the assumption that enterprises would finally be able to go back to their previous activity — with no restrictions at all — in October.

"Out of more than 2.7 million firms ... some 10 percent face the risk of closure, and the most affected sectors would likely be street vendors, fashion stores, bars and restaurants, hotels, beauty salons, and entertainment activities (such as sport clubs)," the Confcommercio said in a report.

As for the companies' size, micro enterprises with no employees would be those most at risk of failure.

The Italian Economy Ministry on Monday said it registered 158,740 new VAT numbers (indicating sole proprietor companies and self-employed) in the first three months, with a 19.7 percent decrease compared to the same period of last year.

The drop, according to a ministry statement, was "mainly due to the health emergency."

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