Italy reports 651 new virus deaths, as toll nears 5,500

Tourists wear face masks as they walk close to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, 04 March 2020. The coronavirus is expected to cost Italy's tourism sector 7.4 billion euros in losses in the upcoming trimester (01 March - 31), with an estimated loss of 31.625 million tourists over that quarter, the confederation representing businesses in the sector Confturismo-Confcommercio said on 04 March. Picture: EPA-EFE/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

Italy’s world-topping toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached 5,500 on Sunday after the Mediterranean country reported another 651 deaths.

The latest daily toll was smaller than Saturday’s record 793 fatalities but still the second-highest registered during Italy’s month-long crisis.

The number of new infections rose by 10.4 percent to 59,138.

Italy’s death toll now stands at 5,476.

“The figures announced today are lower than those for yesterday,” Italian civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.

“I hope and we all hope that these figures can be borne out in the coming days. But do not let your guard down.”

Sunday’s figures suggest that strict containment measures imposed around the northern epicentre of the crisis near Milan on March 8 might be starting to bear fruit.

Milan’s Lombardy region reported just 30.4 percent of the new infections on Sunday.

It had been reporting about two-thirds of Italy’s coronavirus deaths throughout the month-long crisis.

The region of 10 million officially registered 55.5 percent of Sunday’s Covid-19 deaths.

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