Rome, April 9 (SocialNews.XYZ) The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Italy rose to 17,669 since the outbreak began in late February following a jump of 542 in the last 24 hours, a figure in line with several consecutive days of slowdown.
The number of new infections and hospitalizations also continued to drop, according to the figures published by the Civil Protection agency.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy is 139,422, an increase of 3,836 since Tuesday, reports Efe news.
On Wednesday, Civil Protection director Angelo Borrelli warned that the population should not let down its guard until the situation in the country was fully under control.
There were currently 95,262 active cases in Italy and a total of 26,491 people have recovered.
With figures improving, the government was now looking at how to execute so-called phase two of the lockdown, which would involve a gradual reopening of the country.
There was still no set date for such a move, according to the World Health Organization's deputy director Ranieri Guerra.
He said it was "difficult" to think of reopening the country at this stage, adding that Italy was not at a point of decreasing its coronavirus infections but was simply slowing them down.
Guerra said asymptomatic carriers in the population continued to spread the virus.
The government of Giuseppe Conte's mandated lockdown is in place until at least April 13, which in Italy marks the end of the Easter period.
Only essential services are allowed to operate in the country.
According to Italian media, however, the operation to gradually reopen the country will take place in two stages: first, the partial opening of some companies from April 14 but the wider public and other businesses will have to wait until May 4.
Even then, there will be restrictions, such as the possible mandatory use of masks and social distancing protocol.
Conte told the committee leading the response to coronavirus that "the public's health is the priority, but the motors of the country cannot be still for too much time".
The Italian government on Wednesday also said its ports were no longer safe for the disembarkation of migrants rescued by NGOs in the Mediterranean due to the coronavirus, a decision was taken after the boat Alan Kurdi operated by German NGO Sea requested permission to dock with 150 migrants on board.