ROME (Reuters) - Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 71 on Wednesday, against 55 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases was roughly stable at 321 versus 318 on Tuesday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,601, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.
The number of confirmed cases amounts to 233,836, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Britain.
Of the 321 new infections on Wednesday, 237 were in the northern Lombardy region which has been by far the hardest hit by Italy’s epidemic in terms of both cases and deaths.
The region with the second highest number of new cases was neighbouring Piedmont, with just 19. Eight of Italy’s 20 regions had no new cases on Wednesday.
The government on Wednesday ended restrictions on movement between regions despite complaints by some regional governors who fear that allowing people to travel out of Lombardy could spark new areas of contagion elsewhere in the country.
People registered as currently carrying the illness in Italy fell to 39,297 from 39,893 the day before.
There were 353 people in intensive care on Wednesday, down from 408 on Tuesday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 160,938 were declared recovered against 160,092 a day earlier.
The agency said 2.497 million people had been tested for the virus as of Wednesday, against 2.477 million on Tuesday, out of a population of around 60 million.
Reporting by Gavin Jones