Italy reported 50 more coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing Italy’s death toll to 32,785. The government will also hire 60,000 civic assistants to ensure that social distancing measures will be observed.
Mayors across Italy began implementing new restrictions in response to risky gatherings and crowds on beaches.
The figure last Sunday is reportedly one of the lowest since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. However, this does not include data from the northern Lombardy region, which is hot spot of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the country’s Civil Protection Department, the peak of the coronavirus crisis has been left behind. The number of infections on Sunday dropped again by 1,158, making the total 56,594.
Meanwhile, recoveries from COVID-19 continue to increase, going beyond 140,000. More individuals already left intensive care, slightly relaxing Italy’s strained health care system.
However, authorities and experts are worried about pictures of crowds on Italian beaches and piazzas as they enjoy the first weekend outdoors.
Because of this, mayors started to implement new restrictions after reports of infractions and reunions in Italy’s largest cities.
In the city of Brescia, the mayor ordered bars and pubs to stop operating two hours earlier than usual. In Verona, the mayor told citizens they can drink only while sitting at outdoor tables.
In Milan, Mayor Giuseppe Sala said he was “frustrated by the difficulty of managing the gatherings.”
“We are still in a very dangerous phase,” Deputy Interior Minister Matteo Mauri said on Sunday.
“If the infections start again, we are ready to close,” Luca Zaia, the president of the Veneto region in the country’s north, told reporters in a press conference. She expressed concerns laid out by the Technical-Scientific Committee which has assisted the government in evaluating its response to the virus.
Police reports at a national level reveal that people movements by car and train increased by 20% on Saturday. The number of checks and controls increased, and about 651 people were fined.
The Civil Protection Agency announced that it is looking for some 60,000 volunteers. They will be hired and paid as “civic assistants” to oversee public areas, such as beaches, and to ensure that people are following social distancing guidelines.
This decision comes as the country faces difficulties in terms of financially supporting people whose incomes were unstable or gone during the shutdown.
“They are not patrols and they are not municipal officers,” said Francesco Boccia, the Minister for Regional Affairs. “Instead, these volunteers will make themselves available to their municipalities for up to 16 hours a week.”
Anyone can apply but individuals who have suffered from layoffs or are qualified for state benefits, including those in retirement, will be the priority.
“I expect much more than 60 thousand applications,” Boccia said.
According to a study by Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS), Italy’s largest social security and welfare institute, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the country could be nearly 19,000 higher than the official figure of 32,000 in March and April. However, the study also says that official death figures are not “reliable.”