ROME — Italy recorded the lowest number of new coronavirus deaths in three weeks, saying 431 people died in the past day to bring its total to 19,899.
It was the lowest day-to-day toll since March 19.
For the ninth day running, intensive care admissions were down and hospitalizations overall were down, relieving pressure on Italy’s over-stressed health care system.
More than 4,000 people tested positive as Italy began its fifth week under nationwide lockdown, continuing a general flattening in its infection curve.
But officials have noted that Italy has also increased its testing capacity in recent days, yielding more positive cases but allowing for more effective quarantine measures for people once they know they are infected.
Italy crossed the 1 million virus test mark on Sunday, doubling the number of tests since the end of March. Overall, 156,363 people have been confirmed as positive, though officials note that the true number of infected could be as much as 10 times that, particularly in hard-hit Lombardy.
Officials have also warned that the true number of dead from the virus pandemic is higher, given the hundreds of elderly who have died in nursing homes but were never tested.
12,500 sanctioned for violating lockdown
The Italian government says increased police patrols over Easter weekend led to more than 12,500 people being sanctioned and 150 facing criminal charges for allegedly violating lockdown measures.
The Interior Ministry released data from Saturday’s traffic checkpoints and patrols and said more than 280,000 people were pulled over and asked to explain why they were outside their homes.
The numbers were slightly higher than previous days.
The government’s lockdown measures allow people to move around for work, health reasons or necessities such as grocery shopping or walking the dog.
Anyone outside is required to carry a certificate explaining why they are outside.
Fines can range up to 3,000 euros or lead to criminal charges for anyone making a false declaration.
Authorities had announced beefed-up patrols over the long Easter weekend, when Italians generally head to summer homes or to lunches with friends and family.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.