The COVID-19 epidemic situation in Italy was “under control” despite a recent surge in new infections, according to the scientific body counseling the Italian cabinet on the emergency.
Such assessment was provided by Agostino Miozzo, coordinator of the technical-scientific committee (CTS), at a hearing before the education panel of the lower house on Thursday.
“The data registered these days were expected,” Miozzo told lawmakers.
He explained the new infections registered in recent weeks, which authorities confirmed as mainly linked to holidaymakers, resulted from “the liberty someone took of not respecting the basic preventive rules.”
“Right now, even if numbers are on the rise, our epidemiological trend is under control,” said Miozzo, who is also a member of the Civil Protection Department.
“They are relevant numbers, but our territorial (health) system is capable to manage them.”
As of Thursday, some 1,179 new coronavirus infections were registered over a 24-hour period, bringing the total of active infections to 21,932, according to the latest statistics from the Health Ministry.
Of all those actively infected, some 20,734 are currently isolated at home as they are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The remaining 1,131 cases are hospitalized, with 67 in intensive care units.
With 225 new recoveries on a daily basis, the number of those recovered in the country since the pandemic broke out in February has risen to 206,554.
COVID-19 death toll grew to 35,463 after five more deaths were registered compared with Wednesday.
Some 94,024 swab tests were carried out across the country over the last 24 hours, data also showed.
Overall, the total of COVID-19 cases assessed in the country stood at 263,949.
A large majority of the new infections in recent weeks concerned vacationers under the age of 40, and especially young people returning from popular beach destinations in Italy, such as the Sardinia island, and in nearby countries.
This prompted the government to impose on Aug. 12 mandatory COVID-19 tests on people returning from Greece, Spain, Malta and Croatia.
A few days later, Health Minister Roberto Speranza issued a decree closing all-dancing facilities across the country, and making face masks mandatory again between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. everywhere there could be the risk of crowding.
In his report to lawmakers on Thursday, the CTS coordinator also drew attention to the forthcoming school reopening set on Sept. 14.
He explained that CTS experts would expect a limited increase in infections after millions of students and school staff are back to their classrooms, as it has happened in other countries.
“School now is our absolute priority in terms of consideration and debate,” Miozzo said.
“One goal we are committed to helping our school system to reopen is safety, yet an even more crucial goal is to help it to remain open in safe conditions.”
Set up during the emergency, the CTS is the official body advising the Italian government on its policies concerning the COVID-19 health crisis. It comprises 20 top scientists and health officials.