Italy has 85 virus deaths, 518 new cases

Gavin Jones
The number of people in intensive care units with the coronavirus in Italy continues to decline

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy have climbed by 85 against 88 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency says, while the daily tally of new cases jumped to 518 from 177 on the prior day.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 33,774, the agency said, the fourth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 234,531, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

Of the 518 new infections, 402 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.

Of the country's 20 regions, the only others to register more than ten new cases on Friday were Piedmont with 49, Emilia Romagna with 17 and Liguria with 14.

The latest data may fuel unease over the government's decision to end restrictions on movement between regions which became effective on Wednesday.

Some regional governors have complained that allowing people to travel freely out of Lombardy could spark new areas of contagion elsewhere in the country.

People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 36,976 on Friday from 38,429 the day before.

There were 316 people in intensive care on Friday, down from 338 on Thursday, maintaining a long-running decline.

Of those originally infected, 163,781 were declared recovered against 161,895 a day earlier.

The agency said 2.565 million people had been tested for the virus as of Friday against 2.525 million on Thursday, out of a population of about 60 million.