Italy posts daily record of over 31,000 new Covid cases

Italy posts daily record of over 31,000 new coronavirus cases

The ministry also reported 199 Covid-related deaths, compared with 217 the day before

Representative image.

Italy has registered 31,084 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, its highest daily tally since the start of the epidemic and up from the previous record of 26,831 posted on Thursday.

The ministry also reported 199 Covid-related deaths, compared with 217 the day before.

A total of 38,321 people have now died in Italy because of coronavirus, the second-highest death toll in Europe after Britain's, while 647,674 cases of the disease have been registered to date.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area, reporting 8,960 new cases on Friday against 7,339 on Thursday.

The southern Campania region was the second-worst affected, chalking up 3,186 cases.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed restrictions on business activity last week, ordering bars and restaurants to close at 6 p.m. and shutting gyms, cinemas and theatres, among other measures.

Conte has repeatedly said he wants to avoid a new national lockdown that would wreck the already fragile economy, but the law gives the leaders of Italy's 20 regions leeway to establish their own curbs.

On Friday, the small Valle d'Aosta region, at the border with France, imposed a nighttime curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m to curb a dramatic surge in infections which is putting its health system under acute strain.