Coronavirus: Italy's cases 10 times higher than reported, says emergency chief

Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on March 23, posting a decline for a second day.
Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on March 23, posting a decline for a second day.PHOTO: AFP

ROME (BLOOMBERG) - Italy may have 10 times the number of coronavirus cases than officially reported, the emergency chief Angelo Borrelli told daily La Repubblica in an interview.

"It is credible to estimate that there are 10 positive cases for every one officially reported." Mr Borrelli told the newspaper.

That would raise the total number to over 600,000, the newspaper reported.

Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday (March 23), posting a decline for a second day, as the country enters its third week of lockdown measures designed to keep the spread of the disease in check.

Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation's infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalised virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said on Monday.

According to Mr Borrelli, the security measures taken by the Italian government two weeks ago are beginning to have an effect.

"In the next few hours, we will see if the growth curve is really starting to flatten," he said.