Italy’s COVID-19 death toll tops 20,000

Italy’s death toll from the novel coronavirus topped 20,000 on Monday (April 13) but its number of critically ill patients dropped for the tenth successive day.

The 566 new deaths reported by the civil protection service take Italy’s fatalities total to 20,465—officially second in the world behind the United States.

The drop in patients receiving intensive care from a peak of 4,068 on April 3 to 3,260 on Monday confirmed a general improvement in Italy’s COVID-19 trends.

The rise in new infections dropped to a new low of just two per cent. The Mediterranean country last week extended its national lockdown until May 3. The decision has been backed by doctors but opposed by businesses that doubt their ability to survive three more weeks of inactivity.

Italy will reopen some book shops and laundries on a trial basis on Tuesday to see how social distancing measures can be safely enforced down the line.