ROME: Italy's death toll from the novel coronavirus topped 20,000 on Monday but its number of critically ill patients dropped for the tenth successive day as its rate of infections slowed.
The 566 new deaths reported by the civil protection service takes Italy's fatalities total to 20,465 -- officially second in the world behind the United States.
Meanwhile, Italy on Sunday reported its lowest coronavirus death toll in more than three weeks, confirming trends showing that the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe's worst-hit nation had peaked.
The 431 new deaths reported by the civil protection service were the lowest since March 19.
Officials have been warning Italians not to keep their guard down even if the number of new cases and deaths is narrowing, especially on the Easter holiday weekend when many are tempted to go to the countryside or seashore.
Police checkpoints were set up around major arteries in Milan, the capital of the hardest-hit region of Lombardy, with 38 per cent of all cases and more than half of all deaths.