Italy's Rome region faces record rise in daily coronavirus infections

ROME (AFP) – The Rome region recorded 215 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours mainly because of people returning from holiday, the largest such rise since the Italian capital was in lockdown in March, health officials said on Saturday (Aug 22).

The figure is a record number and is more than the 208 people infected in a one-day period on March 28, when Rome had come to a virtual standstill to stop the coronavirus spreading, the capital’s health official Alessio D’Amato said.

“Sixty-one percent (of the cases) are linked to people returning from vacation,” Mr D’Amato said, almost half the cases were returning from Sardinia.

Sardinia had been spared the first wave earlier this year but Mr D’Amato said the movement of tourists and people partying have helped spread the virus.

Most of those infected are young people who are not showing symptoms and it is urgent to “block the chain of transmission as fast as possible by finding the asymptomatic and averting the spread of the virus among families, he said.

“Be very careful especially with your relatives and the people dearest to you,” he said in an appeal to the young.

He warned them to stay home and not meet with people while awaiting test results.

“Don’t feel invincible,” he urged them.

Italy – particularly the northern Lombardy region, the Venice area and Rome – are seeing a resurgence in the virus over the summer, even if the daily numbers remain below the national threshold of 1,000 – unlike in neighbouring France.

The Italian government has taken several steps to block the spread, suych as closing nightclubs since August 17 and making mask wearing compulsory in busy public spaces between 6 pm and 6 am.

Since the pandemic erupted, Italy has recorded more than 257,000 cases, including more than 35,000 dead.

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