Italian authorities have reported more than 40,000 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, the largest daily increase since the pandemic started.
There were 40,902 new cases on Friday, data from the Italian Health Ministry showed. The total number of infections in Italy is now at 1,107,303.
Authorities also reported 550 additional deaths from the coronavirus, with the total death toll from the virus rising to 44,139.
The record in daily infections comes despite the infection rate having decreased slightly, according to the head of the prevention department at the Italian Health ministry, Gianni Rezza. It is the “first sign of the decrease in transmission that could be attributed to the (containment) measures that have been taken,” he said.
Hospital admissions rise: Rezza said the rising number of people being admitted to hospitals justified “further restrictive measures that need to be taken in those regions that have a higher risk.” An additional 60 patients were admitted to intensive care units across the country, prompting the government to add several regions to its “red zone” list, including Campania and Tuscany. The two regions will see increased anti-coronavirus restrictions come into effect on Sunday.
In Campania, the Mayor of Naples Luigi Deagistris pre-empted the government announcement and called for help.
“We now require immediate economic help from the government,” he said. As he spoke, anti-lockdown protesters could be seen taking to the streets of Naples.
The regions of Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Marche, were also moved up in the risk category, going from yellow into orange. Italy now has six regions classified as red zones, nine as orange and five as yellow zones.