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Coronavirus

Officials in Italy Cancel Coronavirus Conference

February 18, 2021

ROME — Officials have canceled one of the main events this weekend commemorating the first anniversary of the start of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak after clusters of new infections traced to the British variant forced localized lockdowns in hardest-hit Lombardy and around the country.

Brescia’s public hospital, which was overwhelmed during the initial outbreak, had planned a daylong conference Saturday on lessons learned from the pandemic. It was to feature the intensive care doctor who diagnosed Italy’s first locally transmitted case, as well as the opening of a commemorative art exhibit dedicated to health care workers worldwide.

But the hospital announced Thursday that it was postponing the event out of a sense of responsibility “considering the rapid evolution of the epidemiological situation.”

It noted that four cities in Lombardy, including one in the province of Brescia, have been placed under the strictest “red zone” lockdown measures after spikes of infections traced to the highly contagious British variant. Other red zones have been imposed in cities in the central regions of Umbria, Tuscany, Abruzzo and Lazio, sparking calls for another nationwide lockdown from hospital doctors who are once again seeing their ICU beds fill up.

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