Italy's Daily Coronavirus Recoveries Surpass New Cases for the First Time Since the Outbreak Began

New cases of the novel coronavirus in Italy fell below the number of newly recovered patients for the first time since the outbreak began. Italy's civil protection agency reported 3,033 recoveries on Thursday, nearly 400 more than the number of new patients.

Active cases (those currently being treated in hospital or recovering at home) also dropped over four successive days since April 20, when the measure fell for the first time. Hospitalized patients and those in intensive care have both been decreasing since early April, according to Italian authorities.

New cases also saw a significant decline on Thursday, dropping to 2,646, which was 724 less than Wednesday which recorded 3,370 new cases. The country also reported that more than a million people have been tested for the virus and 18 percent of them have tested positive.

"The [latest] numbers are particularly reassuring," the head of Italy's civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, said at a press conference Thursday.

The milestone comes as Italy prepares to begin easing restrictions from next month under a gradual lockdown exit plan.

"From May 4, the manufacturing, auto, fashion and design sectors—along with many others including construction—will reopen, but only if they guarantee social distancing and protection measures," Italian Deputy Minister of Health Pierpaolo Sileri told Bloomberg. Sileri also tested positive for the virus last month but has since recovered.

From mid-May, stores and shopping centers will be able to reopen, but restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters will remain closed for longer, due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing measures in such venues, the minister noted. Schools will also not reopen for several months.

Italy has been under strict lockdown measures since March 9, with residents required to remain at home, while all non-essential businesses, including bars, restaurants and other places of public gathering, were closed.

Last week saw a partial reopening of a few shops, including those selling books, stationery and children's clothing. But strict rules on hygiene and the number of customers apply at shops that have reopened, while factories remain closed.

coronavirus, health workers, Modena, Italy, April 2020
Health workers wearing protective gear applaud during a flash mob at the Pavullo hospital near Modena in Italy on April 9, 2020. Getty Images

The pace of the outbreak in Italy has shown signs of slowing down in recent weeks. The daily death toll has been mostly declining since around April 14, while the number of new cases declined around April 16 to 20, according to figures from Italy's health ministry.

Italy has seen more than 189,900 confirmed cases to date, including over 25,500 deaths, the second-highest death toll in the world after the U.S.

The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China and has spread to over 2.7 million people across at least 185 countries and regions. Over 190,800 have died after contracting the virus, while more than 743,100 have reportedly recovered from infection, as of Friday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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A map showing the countries with the most known COVID-19 cases. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.