ROME: Italy on Tuesday registered 135,586 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 17,127 fatalities, according to fresh figures from the Civil Protection Department managing the COVID-19 emergency.
Of these, the new active infections registered against Monday were 880, which brought to total 94,067 infections nationwide. Recoveries kept rising, with a relevant number of 1,555 more people cured compared to the previous day, reaching 24,392 in total.
The number of new recoveries widely exceeded that of new active infections on a daily basis.
"The decrease in the trend of new infections is being confirmed, and the number of 880 is the lowest (daily) rise we have seen since March 10," Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli stressed at a press conference.
Borelli, who also serves as extraordinary commissioner in the COVID-19 emergency, explained the daily number of recoveries registered on Tuesday was "the second highest in absolute terms since the epidemic has begun."
There was an increase of 3,039 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall cases to 135,586.
Of those who have tested positive so far, 28,718 are hospitalized in normal wards, 3,792 are in intensive care units, and the remaining 61,557 under home isolation.
Less pressure on hospitals
Borrelli also confirmed that the pressure on Italian hospitals was lessening, and especially "for intensive care units, where we have now 106 fewer patients (compared to the previous day)."
The death toll grew by 604 over the last 24 hours. New fatalities registered on a daily basis had been 636 on Monday, and 525 on Sunday.
"Finally, it seems that we are beginning to see a decrease in new cases," confirmed Giovanni Rezza, Director of Infectious Diseases Department at the National Health Institute (ISS), while addressing the press conference alongside the commissioner.
"In our epidemic curve, after a plateau phase, there seems to be a fall ... the curve tends to bend down," he explained.
However, the epidemiologist warned caution, stressing the ISS experts would rather "wait for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, before eventually heaving a sigh of relief."
Heavy price for health staff
Borrelli also praised the national health staff for its non-stop contribution in the fight against the new coronavirus. "My thoughts are with medical professionals ... who are making their best to protect all of us," he said.
"My hug also goes to all relatives of the medical professionals who died in the fight against the COVID-19," he added.
As of Tuesday, some 26 nurses and 94 doctors have died since the pandemic hit Italy's northern regions on Feb. 21, according to data provided by the respective professional associations.
Some five physicians lost their lives over the last 24 hours, the country's Federation of Medical Associations (Fnomceo) said.
As for nurses, the national staff registered 6,549 infections, with an increase of 1,049 cases compared to last Saturday, Italy's ANSA news agency reported, citing data by the National Federation of Professional Nurses Orders (Fnopi).
In a statement released for the World Health Day -- which is being marked on April 7 -- the Fnopi stressed nurses are "the backbone of every health system."
According to the latest data available by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Italy counted 351,008 nurses across the country in 2017, with a rate of 5.8 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants.
President calls for solidarity
Also on Tuesday, Italian President Sergio Mattarella issued a declaration to mark the 70th edition of the World Health Day, renewing a call for international solidarity.
"So many deaths and sufferings have made clearer than ever the value of health as an essential component of the right to life, and as a stronghold to preserve and boost solidarity among peoples, states, and continents," Mattarella wrote.
He recalled this year's World Health Day was dedicated to nurses and obstetricians and praised the generosity and professionalism of which health professionals were proving capable.
"It is precisely the universal value of the right to health that calls us to a commitment, to a global co-responsibility, putting aside national egoism and privileges of any kind," Mattarella stressed.
He called for this effort in order to give global cooperation "a great impetus of strength with regard to treatments, research, exchange of information, and supply of tools capable of saving lives."