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8 May, 2020 15:46

Milan branded a ticking Covid-19 time 'BOMB' by Italian virologist as people flout precautions after lockdown eased

Milan branded a ticking Covid-19 time 'BOMB' by Italian virologist as people flout precautions after lockdown eased

People snapped grouping together at popular spots in Milan, defying social-distancing rules just days after the city eased its lockdown, have prompted an Italian virologist to compare it to a ticking coronavirus infection ‘bomb.’

Italy eased its strict lockdown measures on May 4, but still requires individuals to wear face masks and respect social-distancing measures to prevent a second wave of infections. The country went into lockdown on March 9, introducing some of the strictest measures in Europe, as it became one of the countries worst affected by the outbreak.

However, photos circulating on social media and published by Italian newspapers on Friday show groups of people enjoying the sunshine by Milan's canals and flouting social-distancing rules, despite warnings of a second wave of the deadly disease. 

Professor Massimo Galli, head of infectious diseases at Sacco Hospital in Milan, is concerned that such a relaxed attitude from the public will result in high numbers of people who are infected with Covid-19 coming into contact with healthy individuals.

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Galli told La Repubblica that Milan is “a bit of a bomb,” and is at particularly high risk of a second wave of infections if people continue to flout protective social-distancing measures and official requests to wear masks in public.

Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala responded to the photos and footage of people collecting in some parts of the city, branding the behavior “shameful” in a Facebook video. The official also issued an “ultimatum” to Milan residents, warning that if the gatherings do not cease within the next few days, he will be forced to lock down the city again.

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The city has been at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy – a country particularly hard hit by the pandemic, ranking third globally by the number of Covid-related deaths. Italy's death toll is currently at 29,958, coming behind the US and the UK. The region of Lombardy has registered almost 40 percent of all Covid-19 cases in Italy, making its capital Milan a prime hotspot for potential reinfections.

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