It seemed like a beginning, the two-day slowed-down increase in the number of deaths. But on Tuesday evening, with 743 deaths in just 24 hours, the balance again approached the horror count of last week, 793 deaths. And the experts are discussing when the peak of the epidemic in the hard-hit north of Italy will finally be reached – fortunately, the south remains largely unaffected. However, they also refer to signs that give hope: the number of new infections fell for the third day in a row. They have climbed around eight percent each in the last few days, almost twice as much last week.
Motorway petrol stations want to close
However, the significance of this data is questioned, which affects the number of tests, among other things . Right now there are great efforts to find out about the “sommersi” through the general practitioners , the undiscovered patients who may fight the virus at home . For Lombardy, the center of the epidemic in Italy, they are estimated at 20,000. Giulio Gallera, Lombardy’s regional health minister, advised that there was hope in other data: it was also pointless to rush into the numbers day after day because of reporting delays. It is better to listen to the people who are “in the trenches” against the disease: “If the hospitals tell us that fewer people come to the emergency room, that counts more.” The WHO also spoke of “signs of hope for Italy”. The coming days until the beginning of next week are crucial, said WHO Vice Director General Ranieri Guerra. During this period, government measures taken two to three weeks ago could have had an impact. However, the fact that the curve no longer rises steeply as before is “an extremely positive factor.”
In the meantime, Italy could also face supply problems. The motorway filling stations threaten strikes. They are among the systemically important companies that are not affected by the shutdown, but complain that they are completely without protection, without breathing masks and gloves, while securing the flow of food and other basic needs through the country. In the past week, workers in several Lombardy factories had already quit . Their argument was also lack of protection and this in companies that did not produce for basic needs.
There was hectic negotiations on Tuesday to avert the strike along the major traffic arteries. The large unions, Cgil, Cil and Uil, also require the government to close more factories. There are 18 branches on their list, including call centers and tire production. In her opinion, post and courier services should also be discontinued and only the most necessary construction sites should remain open, including the construction of a new bridge in Genoa. The important Ponte Morandi artery in Genoa collapsed in August 2018, killing 43 people. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appealed to the workforce to be part of a “collective effort”. “At the moment, our country cannot afford to go on strike.” However, the business association of the industry pointed out the lack of business at the petrol stations, which are forcing many to give up anyway. In some places, sales had slumped by 85 percent.
President Mattarella: agree as after the war
Meanwhile, President Sergio Mattarella also renewed his call to his compatriots to stand together. Italy now needs a “unity like after the war.” The President used his speech on the 76th anniversary of the German massacre in the Ardeatine caves near Rome. The NS occupiers had shot 335 Italian hostages in March 1944 after a partisan attack on an SS police regiment. In the past few days, Mattarella has also asked politicians to get together in the crisis. On Tuesday, he asked Premier Conte to meet with the right-wing opposition from Lega, Fratelli d’Italia and Forza Italia. In a reply letter to his German colleague Frank-Walter Steinmeier , Mattarella had expressed his concern about the long-term consequences of the corona crisis on social tissue: the virus just decimate “the generation of elders, that is, people who are not only an emotional point of reference for the younger ones, but also in everyday life.” In the letter to Steinmeier, he thanked Germany for solidarity and medical devices that were sent to the affected areas. This is “an expression of the deep friendship between our countries”.
In the meantime, Germany has started to take over seriously ill people. The first eight patients arrived in Leipzig on Tuesday; After Saxony, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia declared their willingness to care for Covid 19 patients in their clinics. The Berlin Charité will also accept five sick people.