Roundup: Italy records fewest new deaths in nearly six weeks, antibody testing to start May 4

Saturday’s number of new deaths was five fewer from Friday’s 420. – FILEpic

ROME: In another sign of encouragement, Italy reported 415 new deaths related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the smallest daily increase since March 18, fresh figures showed on Saturday, reported Xinhua News Agency.

Saturday's number of new deaths was five fewer from Friday's 420, according to figures from the country's Civil Protection Department. It raised the nationwide fatalities to 26,384 since the pandemic broke out in northern Italy earlier this year.

Total active infections stood at 105,847, down by 680 cases compared to the previous day, according to the latest data. This is the sixth consecutive daily drop in the number of active infections in Italy.

Of the positive cases, 2,102 are in intensive care (down by 71 patients compared to Friday), 21,533 are hospitalized (down by 535 patients) and the rest, or 77.7 percent, are in isolation at home.

There were 2,622 more recoveries compared to Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 63,120.

The total number of confirmed cases — combining active infections, fatalities and recoveries — rose to 195,351, a daily increase of 2,357 against Friday.

Italy entered into a national lockdown on March 10 to contain the pandemic. The lockdown, which is expected to last until May 3, will be followed by a so-called "Phase Two," which involves "the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities," the Italian government has explained.

Speaking at a nationally televised press conference earlier in the day, Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri said that blood testing for antibodies to the new coronavirus — to find out what percentage, if any, of the population has unknowingly come in contact with the virus at some point — will begin on May 4.