Italy reports first drop in number of coronavirus patients in intensive care

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The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in Italy fell for the first time, the civil protection authority said on Saturday, while the country’s death toll from the epidemic rose by 681 to 15,362, a somewhat lower rise than ones seen in recent days.

There were 3,994 people in intensive care in Italy, down from a previous 4,068, the first time the total had fallen since the outbreak of the epidemic in northern Italy on February 21.

“This is very important news,” civil protection authority chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters of the drop over the past 24 hours. “It allows our hospitals to breathe.”

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 124,632 from the 119,827 reported on Friday, an increase of 4,805, slightly higher than the numbers over recent days which have encouraged hopes that the spread of the coronavirus has reached a plateau.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 20,996 were declared recovered on Saturday, compared with 19,758 a day earlier.

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