The 525 official Covid-19 fatalities reported by Italy's civil protection service on Sunday were the lowest since the 427 registered on March 19.
They also represented a decline of 23 percent from the 681 deaths reported on Saturday.
The total number of people hospitalised across Italy fell for the first time, from 29,010 to 28,949 in a day.
This comes accompanied by another positive figure: it's the second day-to-day decrease in the number of patients in intensive care, from 3,994 on Saturday to 3,977 on Sunday.
The government reported that the change in the number of confirmed cases in Italy – the number of confirmed cases minus deaths and recoveries – was 2,972, slightly more than on Saturday.
“The curve has started its descent and the number of deaths has started to drop,” Italy's ISS national health institute director Silvio Brusaferro told reporters.
“If these data are confirmed [in the coming days], we will have to start thinking about phase two,” he said in reference to an easing of a month-long national lockdown.
Italy's second phase of the battle against a virus that has now officially killed 15,887 may be trickier than the first.
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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte decided to address Italy's biggest crisis in generations by sacrificing the economy for the benefit of public health.
Italy became the first Western democracy to voluntarily shut down almost all businesses and ban public gatherings – including simple walks in the park – on March 12.
The gamble appears to be paying off. But the hit to the Italian economy will be enormous. The country's big business lobby Confindustria estimates that this year's production will shrink by 6 percent if the lockdown remains in place until the end of May.
Confindustria believes that any additional week after that will chop another 0.75 percent off Italy's total output — the European Union's third-largest last year.
Conte's government is expected to announce new emergency support measures on Monday for small businesses and families that expand on a €25 billion programme unveiled last month.
Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP
The coming easing in Italy has not been tried by any other Western nation since the virus spread from China to Europe in February.
Italian health officials remain extremely cautious because they know that the death toll is falling almost certainly because most people are self-isolating.
Civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli called Sunday's drop in reported deaths “good news”.
“But we should not let our guard down,” he warned.
Italian media on Sunday said Conte's government was preparing a five-point plan that would open up businesses in stages while keeping many social distancing measures in place for some time.
The Corriere della Sera daily said Italians would be asked to go to work with face masks and required to stay two metres apart in public at all times.
Anyone who shows the slightest Covid-19 symptoms must be immediately reported to the health authorities and isolated for two weeks.
Conte's government also intends to secure tens of thousands of certified blood test kits to see how many people have developed antibodies for the disease. Those with the antibodies might have immunity and be allowed to work.
But Italy does not have any certified kits at the moment and when these will be available remains unknown. It is also unclear whether people with antibodies can still spread the disease.
Italy is also reportedly planning to build more coronavirus-specific hospitals across the country.
The government's final proposal involves using phone apps to “strengthen contact tracing” — a controversial measure opposed by privacy advocates that has been tried in countries such as South Korea and Israel.
Italy’s civil protection agency says that 21,815 people have so far recovered from the coronavirus.
This article has been edited to clarify the total number of new cases.