Italy reports lowest new virus infections in almost three weeks

ROME (BLOOMBERG) – Italy reported the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in nearly three weeks, prompting debate over how and when the country should start emerging from a nationwide lockdown.

Civil protection authorities reported 3,599 new cases of the disease on Monday (April 6), compared with 4,316 a day earlier.

Italy registered 636 new deaths linked to the virus, compared with 525 the day before.

That brings the total number of fatalities to 16,523.Confirmed cases in the country now total 132,547, fewer than in the US and Spain.

Buoyed by data showing the outbreak flattening out over recent days, national and local officials are discussing how to loosen containment measures that have closed all non-essential economic activity until at least April 13.

Any opening-up will likely be gradual.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s Cabinet is meeting on Monday to decide on further emergency relief and is set to inject more liquidity into companies to support an economy paralysed by weeks of lockdown measures.

The government will guarantee loans to companies for a total of more than 750 billion euros (S$1.15 billion), according to a Finance Ministry official.

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