A top Italian health official has urged residents for a collective responsibility which is required to battle the ongoing second Covid-19 pandemic wave in the country, currently one of the worst-hit in Europe.
"First of all, we need a new pact of responsibility," Xinhua news agency quoted special commissioner for the Covid-19 emergency Domenico Arcuri as saying at a press conference on Thursday.
"Italians were asked to make huge sacrifices in the first phase of the pandemic, including losing their personal freedom (of movement), and proved to be responsible.
"Now, along with the basic preventive measures of distance, protection, and hygiene that Italians are perfectly aware of, we all need to move as little as possible... everyone," he added.
His remarks came as 26,831 new cases were registered over the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.
The country's total number of cases reached 616,595, with 279,282 recoveries, and 38,122 fatalities.
The commissioner explained the situation of intensive care units (ICUs) across the country was under control, and no emergency was in sight despite the current rise of cases.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, we had 5,179 ICU places available," Arcuri said.
"Since then, we have distributed 3,309 ventilators... So today we have at least 8,488 beds in intensive care."
He added that a further 1,849 ventilators for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in intensive care that will be distributed to the regions starting Friday.
Up to Thursday, Covid-19 patients in intensive care were 1,651.
Arcuri, who was appointed by the government to manage the national response to the pandemic, also said they meant to further increase testing across the country.
Since the pandemic broke out in Italy in February, about 12.6 million swab tests were distributed, and some 15 million people underwent a molecular test, according to the official.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told lawmakers that "this truly is the moment for us to be united", as he was updating them on the latest restrictions and the financial measures to support the economy introduced by the cabinet since October 24.
He pointed out this phase was "not less threatening than the first battle we fought in spring".
"All of the European Union countries are facing the dramatic impact of this second wave, and are adopting measures very similar to ours, in some cases even more severe," Conte said.
The latest economic aid package worth some 5.4 billion euros that was passed by the cabinet on Tuesday specifically allocated 30 million euros to boost rapid swab tests by family doctors and paediatricians, according to the Conte.
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