Italy record 718 COVID deaths, the highest in months

Medical workers visit a home of patients suspected to be suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to carry out a swab test, as a part of an initiative by the Spallazani hospital to help people who struggle to leave their homes, in Rome, Italy

Italy recorded 718 COVID deaths on Friday, the highest in months, but health officials say the spike from 487 a day earlier is due to a backlog of deaths being reported in Sicily.

Italy’s death toll has remained stubbornly high as the very contagious British variant became prevalent and as the vaccination campaign for the most vulnerable population has lagged.

Italy has recorded 113,579 deaths in the pandemic, second in Europe to Britain’s 127,233, where the vaccine campaign is much more advanced.

The president of Italy’s National Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro, told reporters that the new contagion has reached a “plateau” in Italy, with 18,938 new cases on Friday. They began dipping below 20,000 last week.

Much of the country remains on partial lockdown, with a 10 p.m. curfew and high schools only partially open.

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