Italy Virus Deaths Rise by 431, Fewest in More Than Three Weeks

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Italy reported 431 new coronavirus deaths in the past day, the fewest in more than three weeks, as declining numbers of intensive care patients pointed to a lessening severity of the country’s outbreak.

The daily count is the lowest since March 19, when Italy registered 427 dead.

Italy’s new deaths linked to the virus in the last 24 hours compared with 619 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 19,899. Italy has had more deaths than any other country in Europe. It was surpassed globally by the United States yesterday.

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Italy reported 4,092 new cases of the disease, compared with 4,694 a day earlier, civil protection officials said.

The thousands of new cases come as testing surges. The approximately 200,000 tests performed in the past four days comprise a fifth of the the roughly 1 million total in Italy during the outbreak, according to civil protection figures compiled by Bloomberg.

Confirmed cases in the country now total 156,363.

In another sign of improvement, the number of patients in intensive care declined for an ninth straight day after having risen steadily through April 3 to a peak of 4,068.

“The worst of the first big wave of the epidemic is exhausting itself,” Massimo Galli, the director of infectious diseases at Milan’s Sacco hospital, said in aninterview today with Sky TG24 television. “Things are going better because fewer people need an intensive care bed.”

The improvement was the result of the strict measures that have largely shut down public activity in Italy for more than a month, Galli said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced he was extending Italy’s nationwide lockdown until May 3, rejecting pressure from businesses and opposition politicians who’ve clamored to restart the economy. His decision reflected moves across Europe, where many health officials and politicians, hoping to stem a second wave of the pandemic, are warning against letting up on restrictions.

— With assistance by John Follain

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