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Italy's coronavirus death toll rises by 56 to 34,223

People walk at Piazza del Popolo, after Italy opened its borders to European countries allowing free movement after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Rome, Italy, June 12, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

ROME (Reuters) - Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 56 on Friday against 53 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, taking the total toll to 34,223.

The official tally of new cases rose by just 163 against 379 on Thursday, but this was muddied by a recalculation of past data by the southern region of Campania, which subtracted previous cases and reported a total of -229 on Friday.

The northern region of Lombardy, where the outbreak was first identified, remains by far the worst affected of Italy’s 20 regions, reporting 272 new infections on Friday.

The second highest regional tally was in Emilia-Romagna, on Lombardy’s southern border, which recorded just 33.

The total number of confirmed cases nationwide since Italy’s outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now amounts to 236,305, the seventh highest global tally.

People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 28,997 from 30,637 the day before.

There were 227 people in intensive care on Friday, down from 236 on Thursday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 173,085 were declared recovered against 171,338 a day earlier.

The agency said 2.784 million people had been tested for the virus as of Friday against 2.746 million on Thursday, out of a population of around 60 million.

Reporting by Gavin Jones