ROME

Italy’s nationwide death toll from the coronavirus has topped 70,000 as more fatalities were recorded on Wednesday.

Health authorities reported 553 new deaths from coronavirus, down from 628 a day before.

Italy also registered 14,522 new cases of the virus, up from 13,318 on Tuesday, according to data released by the Health Ministry.

The country, which has been the epicenter of the European pandemic, is struggling to contain a second outbreak, which is deadlier than the previous one.

Italy has also detected two cases of the new strain of COVID-19 found in the UK in two Italian patients. But, while the first one had recently arrived from Great Britain, the second one had no contact with the country.

Italy on Sunday joined other European countries in banning flights to and from the UK until Jan. 6, due to concerns over the more infectious virus strain that has led to a new lockdown in London.

The Italian government has also imposed strict restrictions over the Christmas holidays to limit public movements and large gatherings that could spread the virus across the country, possibly sparking a third wave early next year.

Italians coming back from travels abroad from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6 are obliged to observe a two-week quarantine.

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