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The regions of Italy that include the cities of Naples and Florence were declared coronavirus red zones on Friday, Associated Press reports, in the latest sign of the dire condition of Italian hospitals struggling with a surge of new admissions.
The director of the National Health Institute, Gianni Rezza, said the stricter measures were justified by a “worrisome increase in hospitalisations” as Italy’s rate of new confirmed cases reached 650 per 100,000 people. Confirmed cases hit a daily pandemic high of nearly 41,000 and 550 people died of the virus in 24 hours, bringing the country’s known death toll to 44,139. Italy has reported a total of more than 1.1m virus cases.
Sweden remains steadfast in its strategy of voluntary measures and no lockdowns, the architect of its unorthodox Covid-19 response said on Friday, as the country experienced a record number of daily infections, Reuters reports.
More than 6,000 Swedes have died in the country of 10 million people. Its soft-touch approach to combating the virus has drawn worldwide attention – and harsh domestic criticism from some – and there has been a surge in the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths in recent weeks.