Italy's COVID-19 death toll passes 50,000, with 630 new fatalities

ROME (Reuters) - Italy reported 630 COVID 19-related deaths on Monday, rising from 562 the day before and taking the official toll since its outbreak began in February to 50,453, according to health ministry data.

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Italy, the first Western country to be hit by the epidemic, becomes the sixth nation in the world to surpass 50,000 deaths, and the second in Europe after Britain.

The health ministry also reported 22,930 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, down from 28,337 the day before, with the fall reflecting the usual drop in the number of swabs conducted on Sundays.

There were 148,945 coronavirus tests carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 188,747.

Italy has registered a total of 1.432 million coronavirus cases, the eighth highest tally in the world.

While Italy’s daily death tolls have been the highest in Europe over recent days, the increase in hospital admissions and intensive care occupancy has slowed.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 34,697 on Monday, a rise of 418 from the day before. That compared with a daily increase of 216 on Sunday.

Those in intensive care rose by nine, following an increase of 43 on Sunday, and now stands at 3,810.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy’s financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Monday, reporting 5,289 new cases.

Neighbouring Veneto, which has a much smaller population, chalked up the second highest number of new cases, at 2,540.

Gavin Jones