Italy on Sunday recorded its lowest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus in over two weeks and saw the number of critical care patients decline for the second day.
The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection service were the lowest since 427 registered on March 19.
"This is good news but we should not let our guard down," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.
Officials also reported the first decline in the number of non-critical COVID-19 patients receiving hospital care. That number fell from 29,010 on Saturday to 28,949 on Sunday. The number of critical patients edged down from 3,994 on Saturday to 3,977 on Sunday – the second successive decline.
Rome’s main hospital for treating COVID-19 infections Spallanzani Hospital said that more patients were discharged than admitted for the first time since Italy’s outbreak began.
Spallanzani Hospital’s daily bulletin on coronavirus cases was another positive sign that Italy’s rigid lockdown measures have apparently slowed the contagion. The lockdown has been four weeks now.
Health authorities in Lombardy said last week overwhelmed hospitals were starting to feel some relief. The northern region has more than half of Italy’s 15,000 deaths. Italy's official death toll, the highest in the world, now stands at 15,887.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the virus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Its data shows the number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed almost 1,227,000 million, with the death toll over 67,000 and more than 250,000 recoveries.