The coronavirus or COVID-19 infections in Italy have not yet reached the peak, the head of the country's national health institute mentioned on Friday, the day following which more than 6,150 people had tested positive and 712 died in single 24-hour period.

"We haven't reached the peak and we haven't passed it," the chief of the Superior Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro told a news conference. However, Brusaferro said there were "signs of a slowdown" in the numbers of people becoming infected, suggesting the peak may not be far away, after which new cases will show a visible downward trend.

Italy's virus crisis

Italy shutdown
Twitter/Antonello Guerrera

"When the descent begins, how steep it is will depend on our behaviour," Brusaferro said, referring to how strictly Italians will continue to respect restrictions on movement imposed by a government lockdown.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a major stir around the world infecting more than half a million people worldwide and claiming the lives of over 24,000 people globally. The epicentre of the outbreak is probably shifting to the USA according to the current scenario.

(With agency inputs)