Italy says current virus cases fall for the first time
Italy on Monday reported its first symbolic drop in the number of people currently suffering from the novel coronavirus since it recorded its first infection in February.
The civil protection service said 108,237 people were either being treated in hospital or were recovering at home after testing positive -- down 20 from the total reported on Sunday.
"For the first time, we have seen a new positive development: the number of currently positive has declined," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.
The Mediterranean country's death toll still rose by 454 to 24,114 -- second only to the United Sates.
But most Italian doctors believe the country's deaths and infections are far higher than those officially reported.
People who died at home or in care facilities for the elderly are not included and some of the hardest-hit regions have only been testing those who appear the most visibly sick.
But the decline in the number of current official cases marks an important data point in Italy's calculation of what restrictions to lift and which to extend when the current lockdown expires on May 4.