Italy records smaller increase in virus cases for 2nd day

ROME (AP) — Italy has recorded a smaller day-to-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, officials said while cautioning it was too soon to know if the worst is behind the country with the world's second-biggest caseload.

Data released by Italy's Civil Protection agency on Monday showed 4,789 new cases, nearly 700 fewer than the day-to-day increase of 5,560 new cases reported Sunday.

The number of deaths also did not rise by as much. There were just over 600 registered on Monday compared to 651 on Sunday.

Italy has been anxious to see the day-to-day figures for new cases and deaths go down as its health system struggles under the weight of the world's largest COVID-19 outbreak outside of China.

24 PHOTOS
Italy weeks into COVID-19 epidemic
See Gallery
Italy weeks into COVID-19 epidemic
Medical workers in overalls stretch a patient under intensive care into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
MOLINETTE HOSPITAL, TURIN, ITALY - 2020/03/16: A banner reading 'Thanks for what you are doing' hangs outside emergency room of hospital Molinette to thank doctors, nurses and others medical workers. The Italian government imposed unprecedented restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, among other measures people movements are allowed only for work, for buying essential goods and for health reasons. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOLINETTE HOSPITAL, TURIN, ITALY - 2020/03/16: A nurse measures temperature of a man for pre triage, to carry out coronavirus infection control tests. The Italian government imposed unprecedented restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, among other measures people movements are allowed only for work, for buying essential goods and for health reasons. (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)
CORIGLIANO-ROSSANO, CALABRIA, ITALY - 2020/03/16: People keeping a safe distance queuing outside a post office wearing a mask for fear of Coronavirus infection (COVID-19). (Photo by Alfonso Di Vincenzo/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A medical worker wearing a face mask and overalls drives an ambulance into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman walks her dogs across the deserted surroundings of the closed Colosseum monument on March 16, 2020 in Rome. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)
Medical workers in overalls stretch a patient under intensive care into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A mural by artist Franco Rivolli Art, depicting a nurse wearing a face mask, with wings behind her back and cradling Italy, is pictured on a wall of the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 16, 2020. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)
NAPLES, CAMPANIA, ITALY - 2020/03/16: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created with a drone.) View of the empty Dante Alighieri square in Naples city, after the Italian government has imposed unprecedented national restrictions on controlling the coronavirus COVID 19. (Photo by Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A hearse transporting a coffin enters the Monumental cemetery of Bergamo, Lombardy, as relatives of a deceased person walk outside on March 16, 2020, while burials of people who died of the new coronavirus are being conducted at the rythm of one every half hour. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / AFP) (Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)
Medical workers in overalls stretch a patient under intensive care into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
Residents on window and balconies sing 'Il cielo sempre piu blu' (The sky becomes more and more blue) during a flash mob to raise morale as the lock down continues due to the coronavirus outbreak to the Garbatella neighbourhood on March 16, 2020, in Rome, Italy. The Italian Government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lockdown by closing all businesses except essential services such as, pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores and tobacconists and banks, in an effort to fight the world's second-most deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak outside of China. The movements in and out are allowed only for work and health reasons proven by a medical certificate. The number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 disease in Italy has jumped up to at least 27.980 while the death toll have reached 2158. (Photo by Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Residents on window and balconies sing 'Il cielo sempre piu blu' (The sky becomes more and more blue) during a flash mob to raise morale as the lock down continues due to the coronavirus outbreak to the Garbatella neighbourhood on March 16, 2020, in Rome, Italy. The Italian Government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lockdown by closing all businesses except essential services such as, pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores and tobacconists and banks, in an effort to fight the world's second-most deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak outside of China. The movements in and out are allowed only for work and health reasons proven by a medical certificate. The number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 disease in Italy has jumped up to at least 27.980 while the death toll have reached 2158. (Photo by Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Residents on window and balconies sing 'Il cielo sempre piu blu' (The sky becomes more and more blue) during a flash mob to raise morale as the lock down continues due to the coronavirus outbreak to the Garbatella neighbourhood on March 16, 2020, in Rome, Italy. The Italian Government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lockdown by closing all businesses except essential services such as, pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores and tobacconists and banks, in an effort to fight the world's second-most deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak outside of China. The movements in and out are allowed only for work and health reasons proven by a medical certificate. The number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 disease in Italy has jumped up to at least 27.980 while the death toll have reached 2158. (Photo by Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A medical worker in overalls exits an ambulance outside the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 16: Giulia Baini, 24, a volunteer from the Community of Sant'Egidio, speaks to Giovanna, a frail elderly woman of 82 years of age during a home-care service on March 16, 2020 in Rome, Italy. The Italian Government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lockdown by closing all businesses except essential services such as, pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores, tobacconists and banks, in an effort to fight the world's second-most deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak outside of China. Journeys are allowed only for work reasons and health reasons proven by a medical certificate. Citizens are encourage to stay home and have an obligation to respect a safety distance of one metre from each other in supermarkets or in public spaces. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
SALERNO, ITALY - MARCH 16: A nurse inside a Civil Protection tent set up as a Pre-Triage in the Luigi Curto hospital on March 16, 2020 in Polla, Italy. Italian Government continues to enfoce the nationwide lockdown measures to control the coronavirus spread. The number of people infected with coronavirus in Italy is growing, new cases are reported in many southern regions. In the Campania Region, the local government has decided to quarantine five Municipalities so that preventing anyone from entering or leaving Ariano Irpino in the province of Avellino, Atena Lucana, Caggiano, Polla and Sala Consilina in the province of Salerno. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)
SALERNO, ITALY - MARCH 16: A nurse inside a Civil Protection tent set up as a Pre-Triage in the Luigi Curto hospital on March 16, 2020 in Polla, Italy. Italian Government continues to enfoce the nationwide lockdown measures to control the coronavirus spread. The number of people infected with coronavirus in Italy is growing, new cases are reported in many southern regions. In the Campania Region, the local government has decided to quarantine five Municipalities so that preventing anyone from entering or leaving Ariano Irpino in the province of Avellino, Atena Lucana, Caggiano, Polla and Sala Consilina in the province of Salerno. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)
A man runs across a deserted Lungotevere Marzio embankment on March 16, 2020 in Rome. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
SALERNO, ITALY - MARCH 16: The interior of a Civil Protection tent set up as a Pre-Triage of the Luigi Curto hospital on March 16, 2020 in Polla, Italy. Italian Government continues to enfoce the nationwide lockdown measures to control the coronavirus spread. The number of people infected with coronavirus in Italy is growing, new cases are reported in many southern regions. In the Campania Region, the local government has decided to quarantine five Municipalities so that preventing anyone from entering or leaving Ariano Irpino in the province of Avellino, Atena Lucana, Caggiano, Polla and Sala Consilina in the province of Salerno. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)
People wearing a face mask walk across the Gianicolo promenade on March 16, 2020 in Rome. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Empty check-in counters are seen at a terminal of the airport of Naples, Italy, on March 16, 2020 where air traffic slowed down due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Paolo Manzo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A patient (L) flashes the victory sign as she is being brought into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman takes a picture of a notice informing customers of the temporary closure over coronavirus concerns of the Disney store on Oxford Street in London, England, on March 16, 2020. Around the country, as elsewhere in the world, covid-19 coronavirus fears continue to escalate as the numbers of cases and deaths continues to rise. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meanwhile remains under pressure over the government's so-called herd immunity strategy, which bucks the closures-and-lockdowns approach adopted by countries such as Italy and Spain. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

As of Monday, Italy had a total of 59,138 virus cases compared to China's 81,496.

Health authorities have said it will be a few more days before they will know if Italy is at the beginning of a positive trend.

A top national health official, Silvio Brusaferro, resisted being too optimistic, saying that the improvements registered Monday were due to actions taken at the beginning of the month, not in recent days.

‘’We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favorable situation.,” Brusaferro said.

He stressed that while he favorably viewed the situation, “I don’t feel like taking one side or the other to confirm that it is there or not. We can take note of what we see today.’’

In Milan, the capital of Lombardy, by far Italy’s worst-hit region, local health officials expressed moderate optimistic that day-to-day increases of both positive test results and of new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 were smaller. But they expressed renewed worry about the need for additional intensive care beds.

Read Full Story