Italy Virus Recoveries Almost Surpass New Cases for First Time

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Italy reported an almost equal number of virus recoveries and infections on Tuesday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte draws up a plan tocautiously extricate the country from a nationwide lockdown.

There were 2,729 new cases of the disease, compared with 2,256 a day earlier, the first increase in five days, according to the civil protection agency. The number of recovered patients was 2,723 over the past 24 hours, a daily record. Confirmed cases now total 183,957.

Conte is juggling caution from scientific and public-health advisers, who insist the decline in new cases is still slow and relaxed restrictions could trigger a new outbreak, with demands from businesses and regional governors to restart the economy. He said in a Facebook post that he aims to roll out a detailed restart program beginning May 4.

“Now, we must loosen restrictions,” Conte told lawmakers in Italy’s senate on Tuesday. “The country’s engines must restart.”

The current containment measures, in force across Italy since mid-March, shutter all non-essential businesses, ban movement within the country, and all but confine people to their homes except for buying food, going to work and seeking medical help.

Italy, the original European epicenter of the outbreak, registered 534 deaths linked to the virus, compared with 454 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 24,648.

Active cases — the number of confirmed people who are currently carrying the virus – fell for a second day to 107,709.

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