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Signs of hope in Italy as health chief hails drop in new coronavirus infections

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A health chief in the Italian epi­centre of Europe’s outbreak today hailed a drop in new infections as a sign the tide could be turning.

Giulio Gallera, health assessor of Lombardy, which has suffered the highest number of deaths in Italy, said “a lot has changed” over recent days, suggesting that stringent lockdown measures appeared to be paying off.

His comments came as Italy’s deputy health minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, ­indicated that infections nationwide could peak in the next seven to 10 days before starting to fall, while researchers in Rome predicted that Italy could see zero new infections by early May.

Their remarks brought a glimmer of hope following official figures yesterday showing another 812 deaths from the virus in Italy over the previous 24 hours, taking the overall toll to 11,591. 

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Although Italy’s lockdown has been extended until at least April 12, new infections nationwide have more than halved over the latest 24-hour period, partly due to the ­improving trend in Lombardy.

Mr Gallera said: “A lot has changed in Lombardy in the last four days. We are observing a drop in the number of cases, but most of all in pressure on A&Es and ambulances. It’s a sign that the great effort we are making, apart from a few idiots, is working.”​

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