Italy on Thursday reported 610 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 18,279 — the highest worldwide — but registering a slight acceleration in both death and active infection rates.

Experts noted, however, that the stabilizing trend over the past few days is substantially confirmed, supporting hopes that the outbreak has reached a peak, and may start a downward phase soon.

Current infections grew 1.7% from Wednesday to 96,877 — a bit higher than the previous day, when the rise was at 1.3%. The number of recovered people continued to climb, reaching 28,470,

Read more: Italy reports 610 new deaths, contagions stabilize