Italy reported a new jump in daily deaths from the novel coronavirus on Thursday, signaling that the virus is still highly deadly, even though the contagion curve is slowing down.

According to the latest Health Ministry data, daily fatalities stood at 887, almost double from a day before, raising the nationwide death toll to 62,626 – still the highest in Europe after the UK.

While the daily figure is still below the peak of almost 1,000 deaths recorded on Dec.3 , it rose substantially for the first time in a few days.

Italy also reported 16,999 new cases, up from 12,756 on Wednesday, over a higher 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, but at a very low pace, experts said.

The infection rate remained stable at around 10%, 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 strict 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 large get-togethers.

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

The government is now considering a slight relaxation in the new measures, allowing people to move between close cities during the main festivities.

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