World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Italy reports 651 new coronavirus deaths, slowdown in infections

Italy remains to be country with highest death toll globally, with over 5,000 fatalities, but contagions grow at slower pace

Giada Zampano   | 22.03.2020
Italy reports 651 new coronavirus deaths, slowdown in infections

ROME

Italy on Sunday reported 651 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of total deaths to 5,476, still the highest in the world.

The latest figures provided by the Italian Civil Protection Department showed that the total number of cases in the country continues to grow, but at a slower pace, climbing by 9% from Saturday to reach 46,638.

The increase signals a slowing trend, when compared with an average of 15% rise in the past two weeks.

The total number of recovered people reached 7,024.

“These numbers show that there is an improvement and we hope this trend will be confirmed, but we can’t let our guard down,” said Angelo Borrelli, head of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, during his daily news conference.

The epicenter the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which counts now 3,456 victims.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late on Saturday announced stricter lockdown rules to tackle the virus contagion, bringing a halt to all non-strategic firms in the country amid what he dubbed “the worst crisis for Italy since World War II.”

The virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 169 countries and regions around the globe, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Out of more than 318,600 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 13,600, while nearly 95,000 have recovered.

Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.

The World Health Organization, which labeled the outbreak a pandemic, declared Europe the new epicenter of the virus.

Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of those infected by the virus suffer mild symptoms and recover.

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