Italy on Monday reported 27,354 more cases of the coronavirus, down 20% from Sunday, as experts noted that the curve of contagion is decelerating and may be nearing a peak.

According to Health Ministry data, the daily infections brought the total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,205,881, after the country topped the 1-million-mark last week.

The lower number of daily cases also reflected a considerably smaller number of swab tests executed in the last 24 hours, as it usually happens on Mondays.

The Health Ministry registered 504 new deaths, down from 546 on Sunday, bringing the total death toll to 45,733.

The infection rate, however, remained high at almost 18%, showing that the virus is still circulating widely, but at a slower pace.

After a strong response to the first outbreak last spring, Italy has been struggling to face the second wave of the pandemic.

With most Italian hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, the government last week toughened its restrictions in the central Tuscany and the southern Campania regions, adding them to four others already classified as high-risk “red zones”.

Under the three-tier system introduced earlier this month, the red zones are under a partial lockdown.

The government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been trying to avoid a second nation-wide lockdown at all costs, saying it would be devastating for Italy’s fragile economy.

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