ROME

Italy on Wednesday reported 369 new fatalities from coronavirus, bringing the total to 29,684, as the country adapts to the new rules of the phase 2 of the emergency.

Data released by Italy’s Civil Protection Department confirmed that the peak of the outbreak has been overcome, but experts warn that a relaxation in the lockdown could spark a rebound in the virus contagion curve.

Under the phase 2 rules, Italian citizens are allowed to visit relatives and move more freely within each region. Some strategic businesses restarted activities under stricter security protocols, with over 4 million Italians back at work.

The tally of new active infections on Wednesday fell by 6,939 — a new record drop since the beginning of the outbreak — putting the total at 91,528.

Meanwhile, recoveries continued to climb, jumping to 93,245 as more patients left intensive care, easing pressure on Italy’s struggling healthcare system.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, where fatalities keep rising, reaching 14,611, almost half of the country’s total deaths.

Paolo Gentiloni, EU commissioner for economy, acknowledged on Wednesday the steps taken by the Italian government to reduce the economic fallout from the pandemic.

He stressed, however, that Italy’s recovery will take longer than in the rest of Europe.

According to the European Commission forecasts, the Italian economy — one of the hardest-hit globally by the pandemic — is seen contracting by 9.5% this year. That will be the second-worst performance in the euro zone after Greece.

According to the commission, Italy’s closely watched public debt is set to reach 158.9% of national output this year.

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.