The virus and not the measures are slowing down the economy – Italian Health Prevention Director

Gianni Rezza, the health ministry’s prevention director, on Tuesday warned that a new nationwide lockdown will be necessary without strong action to prevent contagion of COVID-19. “I receive slightly threatening emails that blame the health (measures) for slowing the economy,” Rezza told a news conference. “But what is slowing the economy is the virus, not the measures”, he added.

In Italy, the health ministry said Tuesday that 846 COVID-19 sufferers have died in Italy in the previous 24 hours. The health ministry said that 14,844 new cases of the coronavirus had been recorded in that time. Italy’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 65,857.

Germany entered a strict lockdown on Wednesday in an effort to get soaring coronavirus cases under control as the number of registered deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 952, the highest daily increase yet.

Fears that the pandemic is spiralling out of control in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state governors to announce on Sunday a tough lockdown until Jan. 10 at the earliest.

In the UK, Boris Johnson is resisting demands to “cancel Christmas”, claiming it is too late to change plans to allow families to meet up during a five-day relaxation of COVID rules.

He will face MPs in the Commons and later address Tory backbenchers and declare his opposition to dropping plans for three households to meet up from 23 to 27 December.