Coronavirus- Italy releases over 4,000 from hospitals

People walk along the beach of Ladispoli, a coastal town some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2020.
People walk along the beach of Ladispoli, a coastal town some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2020. Copyright AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
By Alessio Dell'Anna with EFE, AP, AFP
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Italy releases over 4,000 from hospitals

Italy says a near-record 4,008 people were released from hospitals in the past day after testing negative for COVID-19 as the country continues its cautious reopening after a two-month national lockdown.

Another 1,083 people tested positive, half of them in hard-hit Lombardy, bringing Italy’s confirmed number of cases to 218,268. Officials say the real number is as much as 10 times that.

Another 194 people died, one of the lowest day-to-day death tolls in recent weeks. The confirmed COVID-19 toll in the onetime European epicenter is 30,395.

Another 134 intensive care beds were freed up, bringing the total number close to 1,000. At the height of the outbreak, there were more than 4,000 people in ICUs, and the wards in Lombardy were nearly saturated.

80 more die of coronavirus in France within 24 hours

The coronavirus epidemic has killed 80 more in France with the last 24 hours. This is the lowest daily death toll since early April. All in all 26,310 have died in France since March 1, the Directorate General of Health said in a statement on Saturday.

The latest numbers are much lower than those from Friday. 243 had died within the 24 hours prior.

Four regions (Ile-de-France, Grand-Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Hauts-de-France) account for 75% of hospitalized cases.

UK death toll rises by 346

A further 346 people in the UK have died after testing positive for coronavirus, raising the total number of deaths in the UK to 31,587.

In a briefing, the UK's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced an ambitious programme to prepare the transport network for the next stage of loosened restrictions. Due to social distancing rules, public transport will only have limited capacity. That means that many more people will have to walk and cycle to work.

Consequently, Shapps announced a £2bn package to put cycling and walking at the focus of the UK's transport policy. Those funds will, among other things, be put towards pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements and cycle and bus-only streets, he said.

With regard to the next phase of the strategy as well as more information on travel restrictions and quarantine rules, Shapps indicated that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be giving more insight during his address on Sunday. "Importantly, it is true to say that moving beyond COVID will be a gradual process, not a single leap to freedom. So when we do emerge, the world will seem quite different, at least for some time," he added.

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