Rome, December 23
Italy reported 553 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday against 628 the day before, taking its total toll past 70,000, the health ministry said.
The daily tally of new infections increased to 14,522 from 13,318.
The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy becomes the fifth nation in the world to surpass 70,000 deaths, with an updated total of 70,395, the highest in Europe.
It has also registered some 1.991 million cases to date.
The number of swab tests carried out in the past day rose to 175,364 from a previous 166,205, the health ministry said.
Patients in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 24,546 on Wednesday, down by 402 from the day before. There were 216 new admissions to intensive care units, compared with 201 on Tuesday.
The current number of intensive care patients decreased by 63 to 2,624, reflecting those who died or were discharged after recovery.
When Italy’s second wave of the epidemic was accelerating fast in the first half of November, hospital admissions were rising by around 1,000 per day, while intensive care occupancy was increasing by about 100 per day.