March 17, 2020 / 5:18 PM / 22 days ago

Italy reports 345 new coronavirus deaths, lifting total death toll to 2,503

A medical worker in a protective suit monitors a coronavirus patient who is being transferred in an ambulance from the intensive care unit of the Gemelli Hospital to the Columbus Covid Hospital, which has been assigned as one of the new coronavirus treatment hospitals in Rome, Italy, March 16, 2020. Picture taken March 16, 2020. Gemelli Policlinico/Handout via REUTERS

ROME (Reuters) - The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen in the last 24 hours by 345 to 2,503, an increase of 16%, the Civil Protection Agency said on Tuesday.

The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 31,506 from a previous 27,980, up 12.6%, the slowest rate of increase since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

Of those originally infected, 2,941 had fully recovered compared to 2,749 the day before. Some 2,060 people were in intensive care against a previous 1,851.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Gavin Jones

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