21:40 GMT24 November 2020
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    Coronavirus Puts Nations on Lockdown (264)
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    GENOA (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko - Italy is lacking the strategic industry to produce face masks, leaving medical personnel and the public at risk amid the coronavirus outbreak, Italy’s former minister of health, Girolamo Sirchia, said in an interview.

    "Recommendations from scientists to the ministry [of health] and to the government haven't been clear from the beginning. For example, it's been said that masks were not needed. It's not true, masks are very useful for individual protection, they are fundamental..."
    Cleaners sanitise documents inside the archives of Rome's Anagrafe, the city's Registration Office, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads, in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2020.
    © REUTERS / REMO CASILLI
    Cleaners sanitise documents inside the archives of Rome's Anagrafe, the city's Registration Office, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads, in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2020.
    "One wonders why they said so. Maybe they said so because there were no masks. Short-sightedness and lack of risk management made it so that we no longer have companies that produce them. We moved production to China because it costs less. We are dependent on China or other countries and we no longer have this strategic industry in Italy. This is a very serious mistake", he said.

    Sirchia said that the issue of doctors becoming infected in Italy was "very serious".

    Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy, China has shipped tens of thousands of masks there several times. Chinese doctors who arrived in Italy to help cope with the spread of the virus visited facilities in Lombardy and urged all Italians to wear masks, saying that the loose approach to social distancing and wearing masks was the primary mistake in Italy's fight against COVID-19.

    "The contagion has become so widespread that we have a large number of potentially contagious people. So when you go to the supermarket or sit on the tram or use the metro you have people close to you, and if you don't have some barrier, that is a mask, glasses, gloves, then it's much easier to get infected. Saying that these masks are not necessary was a mistake and a serious fault of those who said it", Sirchia stressed.

    On Monday, Italy registered 1,648 new cases and 812 deaths, according to the Civil Protection Department. The total number of cases that the country has had since the beginning of the outbreak is 101,739, and the death toll is at 11,597.

    Topic:
    Coronavirus Puts Nations on Lockdown (264)
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    Italy, coronavirus, COVID-19
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