Another 812 people died since contracting the new coronavirus, according to the latest daily figures from Italy's Civil Protection department on Monday, an increase from 756 on Sunday.
But while deaths were up, the number of new infections continued to slow. Another 4,050 cases were confirmed on Monday, compared to 5,217 on Sunday and 5,974 on Saturday.
In total, Italy has confirmed 101,739 cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, 11,591 of them fatal.
Another 14,620 people have recovered, including 1,590 in the past 24 hours – the highest number of recoveries in a single day since the outbreak began.
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
That leaves Italy with 75,528 active cases of coronavirus.
That figure grew by 1,648 in the past 24 hours, slowing markedly from the 3,815 new active cases reported on Sunday.
Health officials said one of Monday's most encouraging figures was the drop in the number of people in the Lombardy region currently testing positive for COVID-19, from 25,392 on Sunday to 25,006 on Monday. Until now the figure had been growing continuously for over a month.
Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri said the latest data showed that Italy was on course to start seeing “a drop in the number of people infected within seven to ten days”.
While the latest people to die may have been infected before Italy imposed its nationwide quarantine, authorities are hoping that the slowdown in new cases is a sign that the drastic measures imposed two and a half weeks ago are beginning to bear fruit.
“The number of people testing positive is falling, despite the fact that we are continuing to carry out the same number of tests, and the number of people who need to be placed in intensive care is no longer as markedly high as it was at the beginning of last week,” said Franco Locatelli, president of Italy's top health advisory body, the Higher Health Council (CSS).
More than 31,000 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus, including nearly 4,000 in intensive care. The total has risen by just under 8,000 since last Monday.
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The signs confirm “how significant an effect the social containment measures we have undertaken, however much they have restricted our individual freedom, have had,” Locatelli said.
The current measures are bound to be extended beyond the initial deadline of April 3, he said.
“We're seeing results, results that we would not have had without the containment measures. And that's a reason to continue making this sacrifice.”