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Italy records highest ever daily Covid death toll

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Italy records highest ever daily Covid death toll
A man touches his mother's coffin in the cemetery of Seriate, Lombardy. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Italy on Thursday recorded its highest daily death toll from Covid-19 with 993 fatalities in the last 24 hours, despite a downward trend in infection rates.

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EXPLAINED: Why is Italy's coronavirus death toll so high?

The official tally on Thursday surpassed the previous grim record of 969 deaths, set on March 27th, when Italy was under national lockdown after becoming the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic.

The Covid-19 death toll now stands at 58,038.

The daily toll has been markedly high since late November, with authorities warning on the 24th that the country could expect the number to remain high for at least "10-12 days".

However this is the first time the figure has been higher than in March.

This is despite the fact that the number of new infections is now falling in most parts of the country.
 
The health ministry reported 23,225 new cases on Thursday, compared to 40,902 on November 13.
 
The number of people currently infected has also been falling since the end of November.
 

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The government imposed a nationwide shutdown when coronavirus first hit that brought infection rates under control, but had the effect of crippling the economy.
 
After cases began to rise again in October, bars and restaurants were shut in the early evening and a nationwide night curfew imposed, with tougher measures in the hardest-hit areas.
 
Ministers say this regional approach is working, but have warned people in Italy not to let down their guard
 
New measures covering the Christmas holidays, a time when many people would travel to see family, are expected to be unveiled later on Thursday evening.
 

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