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Italy reports 454 new deaths, current virus infections fall

As death, contagion rates slow, regions squabble on next steps to handle phase 2

Giada Zampano   | 20.04.2020
Italy reports 454 new deaths, current virus infections fall

ROME

Italy on Monday reported 454 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, slightly higher than a day before, bringing the total number of fatalities to 24,114, as the slowdown in the contagion curve continues.

According to the latest data released by the Italian Civil Protection Department, current infections fell for the first time from the previous day, by 20, to reach 108,237.

The number of recovered people climbed to 48,877, while the number of intensive care patients has dropped now for more than two weeks, easing pressure on Italy’s struggling healthcare system.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which now counts 12,376 fatalities, more than half of the total.

The government continues to struggle with planning the recovery phase, as each region pushes in a different direction.

After meeting regional governors during the weekend, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged he will provide a clear indication in the next few days on how the government intends to start lifting the nationwide lockdown rules.

The curve of deaths and infections has been flattening in Italy since the peak of the outbreak in March. However, experts have repeatedly warned that resuming all activities without meeting high sanitary standards and social distancing rules will increase the risk of a rebound in the virus' spread.

The government remains very cautious on possible re-openings of productive activities, but the northern regions -- especially Lombardy and Veneto -- are calling for an immediate restart of their industrial sites, warning against the risks of stopping the economic engine of the country.

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