Rome, Aug 28 (IANS) The Covid-19 situation in Italy was “under control” despite a recent surge in the number of new cases, according to authorities.

Such assessment was provided by Agostino Miozzo, coordinator of the technical-scientific committee (CTS), at a hearing before the education panel of the lower house on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

He explained the new cases registered in recent weeks, which authorities confirmed as mainly linked to holidaymakers, resulted from “the liberty someone took of not respecting the basic preventive rules”.

“Right now, even if numbers are on the rise, our epidemiological trend is under control,” said Miozzo, who is also a member of the Civil Protection Department.

“They are relevant numbers, but our territorial (health) system is capable to manage them.”

On Thursday, 1,179 new cases were reported, taking the overall total to 263,949, according to the latest statistics from the Health Ministry.

The death toll grew to 35,463 after five new fatalities were registered.

A large majority of the new infections in recent weeks were reported among holidaymakers under the age of 40, and especially young people returning from popular beach destinations, such as the Sardinia island, and nearby countries.

This prompted the government to impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on people returning from Greece, Spain, Malta and Croatia from August 12 onwards.

A few days later, Health Minister Roberto Speranza issued a decree closing all-dance facilities across the country, and making face masks mandatory again between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m..

In his report to lawmakers on Thursday, the CTS coordinator also drew attention to the forthcoming school reopening set on September 14.

He explained that CTS experts would expect a limited increase in infections after millions of students and school staff are back to their classrooms, as it has happened in other countries.

“School now is our absolute priority in terms of consideration and debate,” Miozzo said.

“One goal we are committed to helping our school system to reopen is safety, yet an even more crucial goal is to help it to remain open in safe conditions.”

Set up during the emergency, the CTS is the official body advising the Italian government on its policies concerning the Covid-19 health crisis.

It comprises 20 top scientists and health officials.

–IANS

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