World, Europe

Italy records slight fall in daily COVID-19 deaths

Regions, citizens frustrated by new curbs during Christmas holidays

Giada Zampano   | 04.12.2020
Italy records slight fall in daily COVID-19 deaths

ROME

Italy on Friday recorded a slight fall in the number of daily deaths related to coronavirus, after hitting a record high since the start of the pandemic a day before.

According to the latest Health Ministry data, the new fatalities stood at 814, down from 993 on Thursday, bringing the national death toll to 58,852 -- the second-highest in Europe after the UK.

The country also recorded 24,099 new cases of the novel coronavirus, up 3.7% from Thursday, despite a smaller number of swab tests.

Experts stressed that the general trend seen over the past two weeks confirms that the contagion curve is decelerating.

The infection rate rose slightly at around 11%, still far from the peak of 18% hit in October, when the contagion curve spiked up after a summer lull.

Struggling to contain the second wave of the pandemic, the government adopted stricter measures for the Christmas period in a bid to allow people to celebrate without risking a third wave of infections early next year.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the new restrictions late Thursday after a special government decree was approved.

The new curbs -- to be effective from Dec. 4 -- will include an almost total ban on international movements and among Italian regions from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6, aimed at avoiding the spread of the virus across the country and limiting huge get-togethers.

The restriction will be even tougher on Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1, when citizens will not be allowed inter-city travel.

A nationwide curfew at 10 p.m. will be maintained also on Christmas night and New Year’s Eve, obliging Italian churches to bring forward the traditional midnight mass.

Both Italian regions and citizens were frustrated by the government measures, complaining that the new rules ignored the need of families living in different areas to reunite during the holidays.

Scientists noted, however, that the three-tier system established by the government to contain the second wave is proving to be effective.

In light of the new data, Health Minister Roberto Speranza will sign three new ordinances on Friday, relaxing the current restrictions in nine Italian regions.

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