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Italy Reports 261 Coronavirus Deaths Saturday

A refrigerated truck is escorted by Italian Police as it arrives at the Spallanzani hospital to deliver the first doses of vaccine for the COVID-19 in Rome, Dec. 26, 2020.

Italy reported 261 coronavirus-related deaths Saturday against 459 the day before, the health ministry said.

The daily tally of new infections increased by 10,407 from 19,037 the day before, taking the total number of cases since Italy's epidemic began to 2,010,037.

Italy Thursday became the eighth country in the world to exceed 2 million officially recorded cases.

The number of swab tests carried out in the past day was 81,285 from a previous 152,334, the health ministry said. The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has reported 70,909 deaths since its outbreak came to light on February 21, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 23,304, down by 98 from the day before.

The current number of intensive care patients decreased by two to 2,582, reflecting those who died or were discharged after recovery.

When Italy's second wave of the epidemic was accelerating fast in the first half of November, hospital admissions were rising by about 1,000 per day, while intensive care occupancy was increasing by about 100 per day.