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9.19am BST09:19 In Italy traces of coronavirus have been found in samples taken from sewage water in Milan and Turin in December, according to a study by Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS). Researchers examined 40 samples collected between October 2019 and February 2020, as well as 24 control samples between September 2018 and June 2019.





In Italy traces of coronavirus have been found in samples taken from sewage water in Milan and Turin in December, according to a study by Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS).

Researchers examined 40 samples collected between October 2019 and February 2020, as well as 24 control samples between September 2018 and June 2019.

Coronavirus traces were also found in wastewater samples collected in Bologna on 29 January.

In a statement Giuseppina La Rossa, from the ISS’s department of environment and health said:


The results, confirmed in two different laboratories using two different methods, showed the presence of SARS-COV-2 RNA in samples taken in Milan and Turin on 18 December 2019 and in Bologna on 29 January 2020.

Further samples taken from the same cities in January and February also found traces of Covid-19, while those collected in October and November gave negative results, La Rossa added.

Italy’s first locally transmitted coronavirus case was confirmed in Lombardy, the region surrounding Milan, on 20 February, and in Turin, in Piedmont, on 22 February. The virus has so far killed over 16,500 people in Lombardy and 4,032 in Piedmont.

The Lombardy region still accounts for the largest daily rise in new infections, with 226 out of 333 cases registered there on Thursday. There were 66 more fatalities on Thursday, 36 in Lombardy, bringing the death toll across the country to 34,514.

Although new clusters have emerged since Italy started easing the lockdown in early May, for example in the regions of Lazio and Molise, the virus has mostly been kept at bay, with the widespread use of face masks and physical distancing believed to play a significant role.





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Charities report rise in Maltese requests for abortion pills during lockdown

Women in Malta seeking an abortion during the pandemic are being forced to procure their own miscarriage or keep an unwanted pregnancy, even when the child has a severe abnormality.

Overseas charities have reported large increases in requests for abortion pills from women in Malta during the pandemic. Women On Web, an online community based in the Netherlands, received 45 pill requests in March and 47 in April, up from 18 in February, with three women who requested abortion pills saying they had been raped by their partner during lockdown.

Abortion Support Network, a UK-based charity, recorded an increase in requests from an average of seven a month before the pandemic to 13 each in March and April and 19 in May.













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