In Brief: Expert: Italy needs new strategy in virus fight

Expert: Italy needs new strategy in virus fight

ROME • Italy's measures to halt the coronavirus contagion do not seem to be working and it should change its strategy by setting up centres to separate people with suspected symptoms from their families, a prominent Italian scientist said yesterday.

Italy, which has suffered the world's highest death toll from the virus with more than 10,000 killed, has been in nationwide lockdown for about three weeks. But in the last three days, new infections have continued at between 5,000 and 6,000 per day.

Professor of microbiology Andrea Crisanti at Padua University said many of these new cases are probably people who are being infected by family members at home.


Spain overtakes China in number of cases

MADRID • Spain overtook China's total number of coronavirus cases yesterday, with the number of infections rising by 8 per cent to 85,195, against China's 81,470. An overnight death toll of 812 people brought total fatalities in Spain to 7,340.

The country, which is into its third week of a nationwide lockdown, has ordered further movement restrictions and instructed non-essential workers to stay home until the middle of next month. The move has been criticised by business leaders and the regional authorities, who say the shutdowns will only worsen the social and economic impact of the crisis.


Britain's Prince Charles out of self-isolation

LONDON • Prince Charles, Britain's heir to the throne, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, is out of self-isolation after seven days and is in good health, his spokesman said yesterday.

The 71-year-old had been tested after displaying mild symptoms of the virus, his office revealed last week. His wife Camilla, who tested negative for the virus, will remain in self-isolation until the end of the week in case she develops symptoms.


Saudi King offers to pay for patients' treatment

RIYADH • Saudi Arabia will finance treatment for anyone infected with the coronavirus in the country, the health minister said yesterday.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah said King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud would cover treatment for citizens and residents diagnosed with the virus, urging people with symptoms to get tested. The kingdom has registered eight deaths among 1,453 infections, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states.

Separately, an Agriculture Ministry spokesman said Saudi Arabia would start importing at least 1.2 million tonnes more wheat next month, adding to strategic reserves of more than one million tonnes. The country had also expanded the list of countries from which it can import livestock, he added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2020, with the headline 'In Brief'. Print Edition | Subscribe