Italy reports 53 COVID deaths on Sunday, 197 new cases

A passenger wearing a protective mask and a face shield talks on her mobile phone as she walks at Rome's Termini train station as Italy relaxes more of its restrictions and allows free movement across the country to unwind its rigid lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy reported 53 new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday against 72 a day earlier and 197 new cases, down from 270 the day before, the Civil Protection department said.

The total death toll since the outbreak emerged on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,899, the agency said, the fourth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

With a total number of confirmed cases at 234,998, Italy now has the seventh highest global tally.

People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 35,262 from 35,877 the day before.

The northern region of Lombardy, where the outbreak was first identified, remains by far the worst affected region, accounting for 125 of the 197 new cases reported on Sunday.

The next worst-hit region, Emilia Romagna, reported just 14 new cases and of the country’s 20 regions, the only others to register more than 10 new cases were Liguria with 13 and Lazio with 11.

Italy lifted travel restrictions on movement between regions last week and some regional governors have complained that allowing people to travel freely out of Lombardy could spark new areas of contagion elsewhere in the country.

There were 287 people in intensive care on Sunday, down from 293 on Saturday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 165,837 were declared recovered against 165,078 a day earlier.

The agency said some 2.627 million people had been tested for the virus as of Saturday, against 2.599 million on Saturday, out of a population of around 60 million.

Reporting by James Mackenzie