First cases of Covid-19 in Italy were registered before originally thought

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Covid-19 was circulating in Italy since September 2019, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Milan.

This breakthrough discovery indicates that COVID-19 might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought.

The World Health Organization has said the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the respiratory disease it causes, were unknown before the outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, in central China, in December while Italy’s first COVID-19 patient was detected on Feb. 21 in a little town near Milan, in the northern region of Lombardy.

Italy has registered 33,979 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday, down from 37,255 on Saturday.

The ministry also reported 546 COVID-related deaths, from 544 the day before.

There were 195,275 coronavirus swabs carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 227,695.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy’s financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Sunday, reporting 8,060 new cases against 8,129 on Saturday.