Italy, excluding Lombardy, death toll dips

Italy's politicians have advised people to maintain health precautions as the weather warms up.
Italy's politicians have advised people to maintain health precautions as the weather warms up.

Italy has recorded 50 new deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic against 119 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency says.

However, it added that the data did not include deaths from the worst affected Lombardy region due to technical problems.

The daily tally of new cases declined to 531 on Sunday from 669 on Saturday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 32,785, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The Civil Protection Agency said the total number of confirmed cases in Italy since the start of its outbreak now amounts to 229,858, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

People registered as currently carrying the illness dipped to 56,594 on Sunday from 57,752 the day before.

There were 553 people in intensive care on Sunday, down from 572 on Saturday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 140,479 were declared recovered against 138,840 a day earlier.

The agency said 2.198 million people had been tested for the virus as of Sunday, against 2.164 million on Saturday, out of a population of about 60 million.

Italy's politicians have advised citizens to take care and maintain health precautions as the weather warms up and restrictions to contain the coronavirus are lifted.

Beaches throughout the country were due to reopen on Monday but were opened early in many regions.

Images on television of southern Italy showed beaches in Sicily, for example, were packed and few sunbathers were wearing protective masks.

In Rome, Naples, Genoa and other cities, young people headed to bars in the evenings and many stood in groups without observing social distancing measures or wearing face masks.

Politicians in Rome and throughout the country responded with concern.

"After being stuck at home for so long, young people have lost sight of the limits they had been sticking to," said Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese in an interview with broadcaster RTL102.5 on Saturday.

Australian Associated Press