Coronavirus: Italy cases spike as infections exceed 1,000 for the first time since lockdown eased

Coronavirus cases in Italy have passed 1,000 in a day for the first time since rigid lockdown measures were eased three months ago.

The country’s health ministry said on Saturday it had recorded 1,071 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the first time the total has passed 1,000 since 12 May and up from 947 on Friday.

Experts put the increase down to large gatherings caused by holidays and nightlife, a theory confirmed by the fact many infections were found in travellers who were tested as they disembarked from aeroplanes or ferries.

The last time the country registered a higher daily total was 12 May, when 1,402 cases were reported.

Six days later, restaurants, bars and shops were allowed to reopen following a 10-week lockdown.

But the steady rise in cases has not caused a spike in deaths, which are often in single figures.

Three people died after being diagnosed with the illness on Saturday, while nine passed away on Friday and six the day before.

Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, has suffered more than 35,000 deaths during the pandemic from more than 258,000 cases.

But a strict lockdown imposed in March has managed to contain the outbreak and the number of new infections is still considerably lower than those of France and Spain.

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