Italy’s daily coronavirus cases top 1,000 for first time since May; vacationers contributing to surge

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Italy reported more than 1,000 daily coronavirus infections on Saturday for the first time since easing a strict countrywide lockdown in May as citizens return from summer vacations.

Once the epicenter of Europe’s COVID-19 pandemic, Italy has largely curbed the spread of the disease since early May.

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However, the country’s health ministry said that night life and vacationers returning from Mediterranean Sea resorts abroad and the Italian island of Sardinia have contributed to a steady increase in confirmed cases over the past month.

Confirmed cases increased from 947 on Friday to 1,071 on Saturday, just weeks after the nation had seen the number of day-to-day new infections plunge to about 200.

Passengers of a flight from Valencia, Spain, wait to be tested for COVID-19 after disembarking at Rome's Ciampino airport, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Italy's health minister issued an ordinance requiring the tests for all travelers arriving in Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Passengers of a flight from Valencia, Spain, wait to be tested for COVID-19 after disembarking at Rome’s Ciampino airport, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Italy’s health minister issued an ordinance requiring the tests for all travelers arriving in Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Many infections were confirmed in travelers who were tested as they disembarked from airplanes or ferries.

Authorities in Lazio, the south-central region including Rome, say 45 percent of its 215 new cases Saturday were from people returning from Sardinia, where several clusters have been linked to discos or private parties on the posh Emerald Coast resort area.

Migrants accounted for 16 of Sicily’s 48 confirmed infections.

The last time Italy saw more than 1,000 cases was on May 12, when 1,402 cases were reported, according to Reuters. Six days later, the country lifted some restrictions from its 10-week lockdown and allowed restaurants, bars and shops to reopen.

The daily death toll has remained low, with fatalities often reported in the single digits even as infections rise, the outlet reported.

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Three new deaths on Saturday brought the total fatalities to at least 35,400. The nation has more than 259,000 confirmed cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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