Coronavirus: Italy extends lockdown amid hopes of turning corner

(BBC) – Italy has extended its lockdown until Easter, but there is some hope as the country reports a declining infection rate.

The number of new coronavirus infections reported on Monday was 1,648, as opposed to 3,815 the previous day.

The death toll, however, rose again, with 812 deaths reported, compared with 756 the day before. Italy believes the peak of its crisis will come in just over a week’s time.

It is the world’s hardest hit country in terms of number of deaths. In total, 11,591 have died in the country, the government says.

On Monday, the national doctors’ association announced the deaths of 11 more doctors, taking the total up to 61.

The lockdown – which was due to end on Friday – will now continue until at least 12 April, which is Easter Sunday.

Italians have been living under these strict rules for three weeks, with most shops, bars and restaurants shut. They are not allowed to leave their homes unless it is deemed essential.

The governor of the southern region of Puglia said on Saturday the restrictions should remain in place until May.

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