Italy reported a fall in both daily coronavirus infections and new deaths on Wednesday, confirming that the contagion curve is slowing down.

According to latest Health Ministry data, daily fatalities stood at 499, down from 634 a day before, raising the nationwide death toll to 61,739 – still the highest in Europe after the UK.

While the daily figure is far from the peak of almost 1,000 last week, experts explained that it still reflects the rise in infections seen over the past month.

Italy also reported 12,756 new cases, down from 14,842 on Tuesday, over a lower number of swab tests performed.

The new figures confirm the trend observed over the past two weeks, which shows that the contagion curve is flattening, experts said.

The infection rate rose slightly to 10.8%, substantially lower than the peak of 18% seen in October, when contagions spiked after a relatively calmer summer.

Struggling to contain the second wave, authorities have adopted stricter measures for the Christmas season in the hopes of preventing a third wave of infections early next year.

The new curbs include a near-total ban on international and domestic travel from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6, aimed at both avoiding the spread of the virus across the country and limiting get-togethers.

The tougher rules have sparked protests by citizens and regional authorities, as they will keep families apart during the traditional Christmas holidays.

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