Despite rising coronavirus cases, the Italian government will not introduce new lockdown measures, according to health Minister Roberto Speranza.

He told the daily newspaper La Stamp on Sunday that it would be wrong to compare the current situation to that of February and March at the beginning of the outbreak when the disease was spreading out of control. He said that Italy has doubled the number of intensive care beds.

On the last day on which figures are available, Saturday August 22, Italy recorded just three new deaths and 1,071 new cases, the first time the 1,000 a day threshold has been passed since the relaxation of lockdown measures in May.

Despite the rise in cases, Italy is a long way behind France and Spain in terms of new infections.

People wearing face masks walk in front of the Trevi Fountain following a government decree that states face coverings must be worn between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. near bars and pubs and in areas where gatherings are more likely, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane