The number of coronavirus cases in the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Italy’s financial capital, Milan, increased by some 2,500 on Thursday, regional Governor Attilio Fontana said.
“Today’s numbers are not good, unfortunately. There has been a steeper increase compared with previous days,” Fontana told reporters. The governor went into self-isolation last month, long before Italy’s lockdown, after an aide tested positive for the virus.
The number of cases in the region, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s contagion, increased by some 1,643 to roughly 32,346 on Wednesday.
The region had seen a steep decline in the number of deaths on Wednesday, raising hopes that the epidemic may be slowing.
However, optimism was tempered by warnings from Italy’s south, where contagion and deaths are far less widespread, but are rising steadily, and could overwhelm a health service which is much less well equipped than in the rich north.
“At this point there is the real prospect that Lombardy’s tragedy is about to become the south’s tragedy,” Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campania region around Naples, wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“We are on the eve of a major expansion of infections which may not be sustainable,” he said, complaining that the central government had failed to provide Campania with promised ventilators and other life-saving equipment.