By Giada Zampano
ROME (AA) - Italy on Monday reported a 19% fall in fresh daily coronavirus cases and 630 new deaths related to COVID-19, topping 50,000 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
According to the latest Health Ministry data, 22,930 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, down from over 28,000 a day before, reaching a total of 1,431,795 since the start of the pandemic.
With Monday’s daily deaths, the national death toll rose to 50,453, the second-highest in Europe after the UK, and the sixth-highest globally.
The infection rate remained substantially stable at around 15%, showing that the virus is still circulating, but at a slower pace, as the contagion curve is stabilizing.
After struggling to contain the second wave of the pandemic, the Italian government is now studying new measures for the Christmas period in a bid to allow people to celebrate it with their relatives without risking a new outbreak.
The government is expected to approve a new decree in early December, which should include new rules for shops and other business activities, to guarantee longer shopping hours for the Christmas holidays.
However, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has repeatedly said that big get-togethers will have to be avoided, with Christmas dinners and parties limited only to the closest relatives.
Scientists have warned Italian citizens that lowering precautions and social distancing rules during the holiday period would risk sparking a third wave of contagion next year.
With most Italian hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, the government has already toughened its restrictions in seven regions, now classified as high-risk “red zones.”
But the authorities’ target is to bring most of Italian regions to the low-risk “yellow” or the medium-risk “orange” status by December.