Italy reported its lowest daily COVID-19 death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday as authorities began to look ahead to a second phase of the battle against the new coronavirus once the lockdown imposed almost a month ago is eventually eased.
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The toll from the world’s deadliest outbreak reached 15,887, almost a quarter of the global death total, but the rise of 525 from a day earlier was the smallest daily increase since March 19, while the number of patients in badly stretched intensive care units fell for a second day running.
“The curve has reached a plateau and begun to descend,” said Silvio Brusaferro, head of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy’s top health institute. “It is a result that we have to achieve day after day.”
“If this is confirmed, we need to start thinking about the second phase and keep down the spread of this disease.”
The total number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose by 4,316 to 128,948, the lowest increase in five days, which added to signs the epidemic has reached a plateau, about six weeks after it broke out in northern Italy on Feb. 21.
Sunday’s figures added to growing signs the tough restrictions on movement and public gatherings imposed across the country on March 9 were having an effect in containing the epidemic, but officials have been desperate to avoid a letup.
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