The Italian Civil Protection released this Thursday the latest balance of cases of contagion, which rose to 650, including 17 deaths.
The day before, the balance was 400 cases and 12 dead, all elderly people already with serious illnesses.
The Civil Protection count generated criticism and differs from the methodology used by the World Health Organization, which takes into account only clinical cases, with symptoms such as cough, fever and respiratory problems.
The most critical consider that the official disclosures register a high number of contagions with the coronavirus because of the great number of tests carried out, including in people without symptoms.
For Walter Ricciardi, Italian member of the World Health Organization (WHO) board and government advisor since last Monday to face the outbreak, Italy has done “many tests”: more than 11,085 since last Friday, compared to a thousand achievements in France, for example.
Ricciardi considers the tests carried out on “people without symptoms” to be “an error”, citing in particular the region of Veneto, one of the most affected areas, which he said should have been tested only on people who were in contact with patients.
The director of Civil Protection, Angelo Borrelli, defended the current proposal.
“The tests serve to ensure maximum precaution. In some areas, they have been done systematically to determine the focus of the outbreak,” he explained.
Borelli stressed that so far there are two outbreaks – in Lombardy and in Veneto – very clear and that it is now possible to change the methodology and carry out tests only on people with real suspicions of being infected.
Lombardy is the region most affected by the contagion with Covid-19, with 14 people killed. The other two dead occurred in Veneto and one in Emilia-Romana. All were elderly and had serious illnesses.