By Giada Zampano
ROME (AA) – Italy on Tuesday reported another 837 deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 12,428, still the highest globally.
However, a slowdown has been performed in the number of new contagions, compared with the double-digit rises seen since the beginning of the outbreak.
Current infections grew 2.8% from Monday, reaching 77,635. The number of recovered or healed people also continued to surge, reaching 15,729.
The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which counts 7,199 victims alone.
Italian experts say the outbreak has not yet peaked in the country, but it is approaching that point.
The government is expected to approve a new decree by early April, which will likely extend ongoing lockdown measures for at least another two weeks.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza indicated on Tuesday that the lockdown could be prolonged at least until Easter Sunday, on April 12.
Meanwhile, businesses owners are calling for the government’s help to face the heavy economic fallout from the emergency.
Italy’s main business association, Confindustria, said Tuesday that the pandemic-driven losses in terms of output could reach as high as 10% in the first half of the year, with an annual drop of around 6%.