Covid-19 in Italy: 'Second wave possible' says Italian health minister

Italy's health minister calls on people to follow three "essential" rules.

Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza has said that a "second wave" of covid-19 in Italy is "possible," reports Italian news agency Adnkronos.

"We can try to contain the second wave if we know how to be fast and determined in isolating cases, locating outbreaks and containing them immediately."

The minister, speaking on the 24 Mattino programme on Radio24 on 23 July, said: "It is clear that we cannot have certainties about September, October. In some countries the second wave occurred, it occurred in previous epidemics. It is not certain, but we must consider it as possible. And therefore we must keep ourselves ready".

Speranza said that Italy is in a stronger place than it was in early February because it knows the "opponent" better and acquired knowledge in how to confront the virus.

The minister said that three "essential" rules remain: the use of masks; social distancing and staying clear of crowds; and the frequent washing of hands.

Asked about extending Italy's state of emergency - to grant authorities special powers to tackle the fallout from the coronavirus crisis quickly - Speranza said that the government was in talks last night ahead of announcing the next move.

It has been widely reported in the Italian media that the government is expected to extend the state of emergency until 31 October.

In an interview published in Il Mattino newspaper on Sunday the minister said: "Italy is out of the storm. But it is not yet in a safe port."

In recent days the health councillor of the Lazio Region, Alessio D'Amato, warned of fresh lockdowns in Rome and threatened fines for those who did not wear masks while in company, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

However this was later played down by Lazio Region president Nicola Zingaretti who called on people to respect the rules and urged mayors to "issue orders, where necessary, to limit and avoid gatherings."

On 21 July the island of Capri, in the Campania Region, introduced an order requiring tourists to wear masks in public at weekends, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Today, 23 July, it was announced that three young people from Rome have tested positive for covid-19 after a holiday on the island in recent days.

Health authorities are now attempting to retrace the movements of the holidaymakers.