ROME (Reuters) - Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 88 on Thursday, against 71 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the rise in the tally of new cases slowed to 177 from 321 on Wednesday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,689, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.
The number of confirmed cases amounts to 234,013, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Britain.
Of the 177 new infections on Thursday, 84 were in the northern region of Lombardy which has been by far the hardest hit by Italy’s epidemic in terms of both cases and deaths.
The region with the second highest number of new cases was neighbouring Piedmont, with just 24. Nine of Italy’s 20 regions had no new cases on Thursday.
A day earlier the government ended restrictions on movement between regions despite complaints by some regional governors who fear that allowing people to travel out of Lombardy could spark new areas of contagion elsewhere in the country.
People registered as currently carrying the illness in Italy fell to 38,429 from 39,297 the day before.
There were 338 people in intensive care on Thursday, down from 353 on Wednesday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 161,895 were declared recovered against 160,938 a day earlier.
The agency said some 2.525 million people had been tested for the virus as of Thursday, against 2.497 million on Wednesday, out of a population of around 60 million.
Reporting by James Mackenzie, editing by Giulia Segreti