ROME

Italy on Wednesday reported 323 new fatalities from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 27,682 with a drop in active infections.

Data released by the Italian Civil Protection Department confirmed that the contagion curve was further flattening, as the country braces for a partial resumption of activities and an easing of the current nationwide lockdown on May 4.

The tally of active infections saw further decline, falling by 548, and now stands at 104,657.

Meanwhile, recoveries kept rising, jumping to 71,252 as the number of patients under intensive care continued to fall, easing pressure on Italy’s struggling healthcare system.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, where fatalities continue to rise, reaching 13,679 — about half of the country’s total deaths.

Italy’s government commissioner for the coronavirus emergency said on Wednesday that the country was now prepared for a second wave of infections “even bigger than the first,” in case the partial reopening of activities in May led to a new peak.

Speaking in parliament, special commissioner Domenico Arcuri said Italy’s regions now had twice as many ventilators as needed and that the 5,200 intensive care beds Italy had before the outbreak had now nearly doubled to 9,000.

Arcuri stressed, however, that if an infection rebound reached “apocalyptic dimensions,” there was no way that any healthcare system could manage it.

He added that for now, there was no expectation of such a new peak after businesses started reopening on May 4.

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