Italy's record high number of cases matched by record number of tests.
Italy registered 7,332 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, on Wednesday 14 October, a record high number of daily cases for the country and up sharply from 5,901 the day before.
There were 43 covid-19 related deaths, compared to 41 the previous day - far fewer than the height of the pandemic in March and April when Italy recorded a daily peak of more than 900 fatalities.
Prior to yesterday's record number of cases, the highest rise in a single day was on 21 March with 6,557 new cases, during the nationwide lockdown, reports Italian news agency ANSA. On that same day 793 people died.
Another key difference is that only 26,336 swabs were taken on 21 March compared to 152,196 taken on 14 October, the highest daily number of tests since the start of the pandemic.
There are now 5,470 people hospitalised for covid-19 in Italy, with 539 patients in intensive care units, according to the latest data from the health ministry.
On Wednesday morning Andrea Crisanti, a leading Italian virologist, raised the prospect of a second nationwide lockdown over Christmas, telling state broadcaster RAI that the move could allow Italy to "lower the transmission of the virus and boost contact tracing."
Another expert - Massimo Galli, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Milan's Luigi Sacco Hospital - also raised the alarm in an interview with Fanpage.it. Galli warned that intensive care units in Milan could soon be overwhelmed, adding there was "very little time to reverse the trend."
Earlier this week the government imposed new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the covid-19, including a clampdown on parties and entertaining guests at home, and midnight closures for bars and restaurants.
Italy also extended a state of emergency until 31 January, giving authorities special powers to tackle the covid-19 crisis quickly, cutting through red tape to implement, modify or revoke urgent measures if and when required.
For full information on Italy's covid-19 situation see the Italian health ministry website.
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