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Italy reports 505 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, total cases surpass 2 mln

·1 min read

ROME, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Italy reported 505 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday against 553 the day before, the health ministry said.

The daily tally of new infections increased to 18,040 from 14,522, taking the total number of cases since Italy's epidemic began past the 2 million mark to 2.009 million.

Italy becomes the eighth country in the world to exceed 2 million officially recorded cases.

The number of swab tests carried out in the past day rose to 193,777 from a previous 175,364, the health ministry said.

The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has reported 70,900 deaths since its outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 24,070 on Thursday, down by 476 from the day before. There were 149 new admissions to intensive care units, compared with 216 on Wednesday.

The current number of intensive care patients decreased by 35 to 2,589, 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. (Reporting By Gavin Jones)