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Health

Italy tops 2,000 daily coronavirus cases for first time since April: health ministry

FILE PHOTO: People wearing masks walk with their bikes on the street after the southern Italian island of Sicily made it mandatory for masks to be worn outdoors 24 hours a day, as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Catania, Italy, September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

ROME (Reuters) - Italy has registered 2,548 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, the first time the country has exceeded 2,000 cases in a single day since the end of April.

There were also 24 COVID-related deaths on Thursday against 19 the day before -- far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April.

Italy was the first country in Europe to be slammed by COVID-19 and has the highest death toll on the continent, with 35,918 dying since the outbreak flared in February. It has also registered 317,409 cases.

Thanks to one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, the government managed to get the contagion under control by the summer.

Cases have slowly picked up over the past two months, however there are still far fewer daily infections in Italy than elsewhere in Europe, with France, Spain and Britain all registering thousands more cases per day.

The last time Italy recorded more than 2,000 cases was April 29, with 2,086 infections reported just a few weeks before the government allowed restaurants, bars and shops to reopen. On that same day, some 323 people died.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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