Italy records 53 new deaths, 379 new cases

A contact tracing app has been launched by the Italian government to contain COVID-19's spread

Italy has registered 379 new cases of COVID-19, mostly in the northern region of Lombardy where the outbreak first exploded in Europe.

The daily update provided by the Health Ministry on Thursday raised Italy's overall total of known coronavirus infections to 236,142.

Authorities said the country likely has far more cases but that they went undetected since many with mild symptoms weren't tested for COVID-19.

There were 53 deaths registered in the last 24 hours, increasing the overall known death toll to 34,167.

COVID-19 fatalities in Italy are the fourth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

Many restrictions on daily activities were lifted in recent weeks as authorities concluded that the pressure on the country's hospital system eased with a steady drop in the number of those needing intensive care.

While two months ago more than 4000 ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients on any one day, the number on Thursday stood at 236.