Total active COVID-19 infections in Italy drop for first time

People wearing face masks are seen on a street in Milan, Italy, on April 18, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

ROME, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 24,114 lives in locked-down Italy as total active infections fell for the first time since the pandemic broke out in the northern regions on Feb. 21, according to the latest data released Monday by the country's Civil Protection Department.

Addressing a televised press conference, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli said 454 new fatalities were registered over the past 24 hours.

At the same time, a positive signal came from statistics of active infections, which decreased by 20 cases on Monday compared to the previous day, and totalled 108,237 nationwide.

"This is the first time we see this further positive figure, which shows the current positive people decrease," Borrelli stressed.

The total number of cases, including active infections, fatalities and recoveries rose by 2,256 to 181,228, Borrelli said.

Statistics about the pressure over hospitals in the COVID-19 emergency also remained encouraging, according to the official who is managing the national emergency response.

Of those currently infected, 2,573 patients are in intensive care units (ICUs)-- down by 62 patients compared to the previous day -- another 24,906 are hospitalized in normal wards, down by 127 patients, and 80,758 are isolated at home because they are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

Borrelli explained the number of patients in ICUs was the lowest registered since March 20.

Meanwhile, 1,822 people have recovered on a daily basis, bringing the country's total recoveries to 48,877 since the pandemic broke out.

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," involving "the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities," the Italian government has explained.