Rome: Italy is moving forward with its decision on easing the coronavirus restrictions as the recent data from the Ministry of Health showed a gradual decline in infection and mortality rate.
According to an IANS report, the data released on Thursday reveals that the country has recorded 16,232 new infections in the previous 24 hours, higher than Wednesday's 13,844.
However, the total number of infections over the week ending Thursday witnessed a 12 per cent decline over the previous week, the Xinhua news agency reported.
It is the first time that the weekly figure was below 100,000 since early February, and the fourth consecutive week the weekly number declined.
There were 360 deaths recorded on Thursday, a decline of four from a day earlier. It is the 13th consecutive day the daily death toll was under 500, and the weekly death toll dropped more than 20 per cent from the previous week.
Other data has also showed similar trends: the number of patients in intensive care units was 3,021 Thursday, 55 fewer than the day before. The country's recoveries rose by 19,125 on Thursday to above 3.33 million. Recoveries outnumber new cases on Thursday for the 17th consecutive day.
Starting Monday, indications are that 13 of 20 regions in the country including Lombardy and Lazio, the two largest -- will switch from "red," the restrictive category to "yellow," the second least restrictive category.
This means that restaurants and bars will be permitted to open with outdoor seating, and museums, cinemas, and theaters will be open with capacity limits. Outdoor sports will be permitted again.
Nino Cartabellotta of the Gimbe Foundation called the government's decision to ease restrictions a "reasoned risk," while warning "the virus is still in circulation in our country."
Massimo Galli, head of the infectious disease section at Sacco Hospital in Milan, said he was worried people will over-step the remaining limits after restrictions are eased next week.
Italy's vaccination rollout continues to gather momentum with a goal of reaching 500,000 vaccinations per day by the end of this month.
As of Thursday, over 16.55 million people in Italy have received at least one vaccine dose, while 4.87 million people have been fully vaccinated.