Italy on Friday registered 19,143 new coronavirus infections, a jump of more than 3,000 within the last 24 hours.
The northern Lombardy region, the worst hit during the first wave of the pandemic, recorded almost 5,000 new cases while Campania, in the south, there were 2,280.
In a video message earlier in the day the president of Campania, Vincenzo De Luca, called for another national lockdown while showing viewers the scan of the lungs of a 37-year-old. “Without intensive care, he would die,” he said.
Admissions to intensive care units across Italy have more than doubled in the last 12 days to 1,049.
“We are one step away from tragedy,” De Luca added. “Let’s close everything, we need drastic measures.”
Giuseppe Conte’s government is considering new restrictive measures, which could be announced over the weekend but, as of Friday, the prime minister continued to rule out a generalised lockdown.
More than 100 scientists have signed a petition calling on the government to act quickly. “As scientists, researchers and university professors, we feel it necessary and urgent to express our profound concern about the current phase of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” they said. “Taking effective steps now is necessary to protect the economy and jobs.”
There were 91 new fatalities on Friday, bringing the total death toll to over 37,000.
An 11pm-5am curfew began in Lombardy on Thursday night in a bid to contain infections and curb hospital admissions, and similar measures will begin in Lazio and Campania from Friday night.