Italy coronavirus death toll tops 35,000

Italy’s official coronavirus death toll topped 35,000 Thursday, with 20 deaths registered in the past 24 hours, the country’s civil protection agency said.

The death toll rose to 35,017, with by far the largest number of fatalities recorded in the northern Lombardy region, which was hit first and hardest by the pandemic, and where 16,775 people have died.

The number of people who have tested positive since the virus erupted onto the scene in Italy at the end of February was 243,736, up 230 cases on Wednesday’s figure, the agency said.

Nearly 12,500 people are currently positive for COVID-19, 750 of whom are in hospital, and 53 in intensive care.

Italy was the first European country to lockdown over the pandemic. The peak has long passed, but pockets of the virus periodically emerge, the latest being over 40 cases discovered this week among asylum seekers in Veneto.