THE northern Italian region of Lombardy has been the epicentre of the coronavirus emergency in Italy, but health expert Nino Cartabellotta has suggested the region has been tampering with the numbers.
Italy looks to reopen regional borders and allow visitors from some European countries on June 3, but health experts have warned against rushing the greater freedom of movement.
The government has said they reserve the right to keep some regions closed if their infection numbers are deemed too risky.
Cartabellotta, head of the health think tank Fondazione GIMBE, told Radio 24 on Thursday, “There is a reasonable suspicion that the regions are using tricks so they don’t have to close again.
“Too many odd things have happened about the data over the last three months,” he said, adding that there had been delays in released statistics and patients counted as ‘recovered’ when they were still ill.
“It’s as if there was a kind of necessity to keep diagnosed numbers under a certain level,” Cartabellotta said.
Cartabellotta has warned against tampering with the statistics. “If we reopen too early, and we also play with the figures, then it is obvious that the political will is not to control the epidemic but to restart all activities as soon as possible,” he said.
The region of Lombardy has fiercely rejected the accusations calling them, “extremely serious, offensive and above all not true.” It has said that its statistics are all verified by the National Health Institute.
On Friday, the region recorded 354 new cases of coronavirus, out of the 516 total new cases in Italy. According to official statistics, the region of Lombardy has seen around half of Italy’s Covid-19 deaths, nearly 16,000 out of a total of over 33,000 in Italy.