Italy Reports Fewer New Coronavirus Cases, Fatalities

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(Bloomberg) --

Italy reported fewer new coronavirus cases and fewer deaths on Friday, as the government prepares to extend the country’s lockdown with only slight concessions to businesses demanding a restart of the economy.

There were 3,951 new cases of the disease, compared with 4,204 a day earlier, civil protection officials said. The decline comes even as testing continued to surge, with more than 53,000 tests conducted on Friday, the most ever. Confirmed cases in the country now total 147,577.

Italy registered 570 deaths linked to the virus in the last 24 hours, compared with 610 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 18,849.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to extend the country’s lockdown to May 3, according to a draft decree cited by news agency Ansa. The restrictions currently include a ban on all non-essential economic activity and the closure of most shops.

The draft confirms provisions in the current lockdown, which is due to expire on April 13, Ansa said. But some businesses would be allowed to reopen including bookshops and stationery stores, and sellers of baby clothes, as long as health security can be assured.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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