ROME (Reuters) – Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 619 on Saturday, up from 570 the day before, and the number of new cases climbed to 4,694 from a previous 3,951.

The daily death toll was the highest since April 6 and the rise in infections was the biggest since April 4.

After easing from peaks around the end of March, Italy’s daily death and infection tallies have declined but are not falling steeply, as was hoped by Italians who have been in lockdown for a month.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 rose to 19,468, the Civil Protection Agency said, broadly level with that of the United States, the other country worst hit in terms of absolute numbers.

The number of officially confirmed cases climbed to 152,271, the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.

There were 3,381 people in intensive care on Saturday against 3,497 on Friday — an eighth consecutive daily decline.

Of those originally infected, 32,534 were declared recovered against 30,455 a day earlier.

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