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Italy has not reached coronavirus contagion peak: national health chief

Benches on a promenade in Bari are seen cordoned off as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Bari, Italy, March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

ROME (Reuters) - Coronavirus infections in Italy have not reached their peak, the head of the country’s national health institute said on Friday, the day after more than 6,150 people tested positive and 712 died in single 24-hour period.

“We haven’t reached the peak and we haven’t passed it,” the chief of the Superior Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro told a news conference.

However, Brusaferro said there were “signs of a slowdown” in the numbers of people becoming infected, suggesting the peak may not be far away, after which new cases will show a visible downward trend.

“When the descent begins, how steep it is will depend on our behavior,” Brusaferro said, referring to how strictly Italians will continue to respect restrictions on movement imposed by a government lockdown.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones

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