Italy’s PM confident in “containing effect” of measures against coronavirus

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday said that authorities expected measures taken to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading across the country to be effective.

“We are confident we will have a containing effect of the virus spreading in the coming days, thanks to the combined action of an excellent health system and of the rigorous health policy we have adopted,” Conte said at a televised press conference hosted by the Civil Protection Department headquarters here.

The latest official data provided by Angelo Borrelli, Italy’s civil protection chief and extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, at midday on Tuesday showed 283 confirmed coronavirus cases.

This count included seven people who died in coronavirus-related cases, and one person who fully recovered. The death toll in the country has been stationary since Monday.

While the most of the cases were reported in the northern regions — and especially in worst hit Lombardy and Veneto, the country’s two hotbeds — new cases were identified on Tuesday in Tuscany (2) and Sicily (1).

The latter case was linked to Lombardy, since it concerned an Italian woman who traveled for tourism from the northern region to the southern island.

Also on Tuesday, Italian authorities were to hold emergency talks with health ministers from neighboring countries — Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland and France — and from Germany and Croatia, along with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, according to the Health Ministry.

On Wednesday, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza will hold a second meeting with the European Commissioner, the Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO) Hans Kluge, and the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Andrea Ammon.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the Italian Prime Minister’s Office dismissed rumors that schools and universities were going to be shut down all across the country, confirming that the preventive closure (and the suspension of school trips) concerned only the regions with confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We are launching a package of measures to alleviate the direct economic impact of the coronavirus health emergency,” Conte said at the press conference.