A woman poses for a selfie on a beach in Ladispoli near Rome, Italy, on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua)
The total number of COVID-19 infections, fatalities and recoveries since the pandemic officially began here in late February has risen to 317,409 cases over the past 24 hours.
ROME, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,384 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Italy over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
This compares to 633 new infections on Wednesday and brings the total number of people currently infected to 52,647, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, 1,140 patients have recovered (against 1,198 recoveries on Wednesday) and 24 people have lost their lives (up from 19 fatalities on Wednesday), bringing the overall recoveries to 228,844 and the overall death toll to 35,918.
The total number of COVID-19 infections, fatalities and recoveries since the pandemic officially began here in late February has risen to 317,409 cases over the past 24 hours, the ministry said.
Of the total reported cases over the past 30 days, 50.8 percent occurred among people aged 19-50; 25.3 percent among people aged 51-70; 14 percent among kids aged 0-18; and 9.89 percent among the elderly aged 70 and over.
In the past 30 days, 52.6 percent of the cases were male, according to the National Institute of Health (ISS).
A man wearing a face mask walks in a street in Rome, Italy, Aug. 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheng Tingting)
"SEVEN OR EIGHT DIFFICULT MONTHS AHEAD"
Also on Thursday, Health Minister Roberto Speranza presided over the inauguration of a new COVID-19 vaccine production line at a manufacturing facility belonging to the Italy division of Sanofi S.A., a French multinational biopharmaceutical company.
Countries across the globe -- including France, Italy, China, Russia, Britain and the U.S. -- are racing to find a vaccine. According to the website of the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Sept. 30, there were 192 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 41 of them were in clinical trials.
Speranza spoke about "seven or eight difficult months ahead" as he inaugurated the facility near the city of Anagni in the Lazio region, which also includes Rome, the nation's capital.
"I am certain humanity will win (the COVID-19) challenge," the minister said. "There will be a safe and effective vaccine, and we will have treatments that work."
"Meanwhile, we must continue to use the tools that we have," Speranza said in reference to social distancing, hand hygiene and face masks.
A man wearing a face mask waits to cross a road in Rome, Italy, Sept. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheng Tingting)
Speranza said that "the priority of our government is to reopen the schools, not to reopen the football stadiums." Italy is still "in a difficult place" with regard to the pandemic, he said, and the government is still being forced to make tough choices.
His comments came after the Genoa FC soccer team on Wednesday reported that at least 15 of its players and staff had tested positive for the virus.
The health minister also said that rapid antigen tests are already provided in schools in some regions of Italy and will soon be available in schools across the country.
Italy's schools reopened on Sept. 14. They were shut down between early March and early May as part of the national lockdown.
People rest outside the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome, Italy, Sept. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheng Tingting)■