After more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths — the worst in the world — Italy is showing signs that its 3-week lockdown is working

italy coronavirus lockdown

A man wearing a face mask walks near Rome's Spanish Steps on March 10, a day after Italy announced a nationwide lockdown.

Remo Casilli/Reuters

  • Italy is showing very early signs that it's turning a corner with the coronavirus outbreak as the numbers of new reported deaths and cases have slowed, according to multiple reports.

  • The country's strict three-week lockdown is due to be lifted on Friday, but officials have said it's likely to be extended.

  • It's a sign that those under lockdown "save lives" by staying home, Luca Richeldi, a government health adviser, said on Sunday. He argued that it was a reason to be "even stricter."

  • Italy is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, its death toll was at 10,779, representing about one-third of all reported deaths.

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The numbers of new deaths, infections, and severe coronavirus cases in Italy are showing an optimistic trend — a very early sign that the country's strict lockdown is working.

The number of new people being taken into intensive care with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, dropped to 50 on Sunday from 124 on Saturday, said Luca Richeldi, a government adviser, according to the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

Related Video: What COVID-19 Symptoms Look Like, Day by Day

New cases also dropped to 5,217 on Sunday from 5,974 the day before, according to the data website Statista. The number of new deaths dropped to 756 on Sunday from a record 919 on Friday, Reuters reported.

Italy is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, recording 10,779 deaths as of Monday, or about one-third of the global death toll.

The country's health system has struggled to battle the outbreak. Medical students have been fast-tracked to serve in coronavirus wards, and six patients were flown to Germany for treatment on Saturday, according to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Luca richeldi Italy department of civil protection press conference coroanvirus

Luca Richeldi, left, said at a press conference on Sunday that the positive trend in coronavirus cases was a reason to be "even stricter."

Department for Civil Protection/YouTube

The improving numbers in Italy are a sign that "through our behavior, we save lives," Richeldi told reporters on Sunday, according to Deutsche Welle.

Italy's strict lockdown, which began on March 9, is due to be lifted on Friday. But the encouraging signs after three weeks of lockdown are "a reason for us to be even stricter," Richeldi said, adding, "We are in a very long battle."

Francesco Boccia, Italy's regional-affairs minister, told the Sky TG24 TV channel that the lockdown "inevitably will be extended," according to The Guardian.

"We all want to go back to normal," he said. "But we will have to do it by turning on one switch at a time."

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