The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose by 602 on Monday, the smallest increase for four days, while the number of new cases also slowed, raising hope that the most aggressive phase of the epidemic may be passing.
Data released by Italy's Civil Protection agency this morning showed 4789 new cases from a day earlier, almost 700 fewer than the day-to-day increase reported yesterday.
Soldiers have been drafted in to ferry bodies to cemeteries already struggling to cope with the huge numbers of deaths. There were just over 600 more virus-related registered in Italy on Monday compared to 651 on Sunday.
It means new cases are down 27 per cent in two days - the lowest number of new cases since March 17 and a sign the country may be starting to bend the coronavirus curve.
The number of total infections grew by 4,789, or 8 percent from 59,138 cases recorded on Sunday.
"The more we have consecutive (downward) measurements, the more confident we can be", Silvio Brusaferro, president of Italy's National Health Institute (ISS), said at the press conference alongside Borrelli.
More than 337,000 people have been infected by coronavirus across the world and 14,651 have died. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Over 100,000 people have recovered, including almost 60,000 in China and more than 7,000 in Italy.
In Milan, the capital of Lombardy, by far Italy's worst-hit region, local health officials expressed moderate optimistic that day-to-day increases of both positive test results and of new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 were smaller.
"Of the 50,418 people who are positive, some 26,522 are now under home isolation - being asymptomatic or with light symptoms - another 3,204 are in intensive care, and all the other hospitalized in ordinary wards", he specified.
Lombardy health commissioner Giulio Gallera said Monday that the number of cases grew to 29,761, a day-to-day increase of 1,555 as opposed to the one-day jump of 3,200 recorded Saturday. "They were good people who looked after me well and now they will send me home in a little while".