Europe saw further signs of hope in the coronavirus outbreak Sunday as Italy’s daily death toll was at its lowest in more than two weeks and its infection curve was finally on a downward slope. In Spain, new deaths dropped for the third straight day.
But the optimism was tempered by Britain’s jump in virus deaths that outpaced the daily toll in Italy.
Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection agency on Sunday, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. That’s the lowest such figure in the country since 427 deaths were registered on March 19.
Italy now has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 129,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A day shy of one month under a national lockdown that the Italian government ordered, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement.
The number of intensive care unit beds occupied by COVID-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the last few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy’s most stricken region.
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Borrelli also noted with a measure of satisfaction that the number of those hospitalized but not in ICU beds also has decreased.
Italy recorded 4,316 new cases Sunday. Earlier in the outbreak, daily increases in caseloads topped the 6,000 mark.
Restrictions on movement vary from country to country. In Germany and Britain, residents can exercise and walk their dogs, as well as go to the supermarket and do other essential tasks.
Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open.
Spain announced 6,023 confirmed new infections Sunday, taking its national tally to 130,759 but down from an increase of 7,026 infections in the previous day. Spain’s confirmed new virus deaths dropped for the third straight day, to 674 — the first time daily deaths have fallen below 800 in the past week.
“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.
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