ROME (Reuters) – Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy fell to 242 on Friday, against 262 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases dipped to 789 from 992 on Thursday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 31,610 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 223,885, the fifth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Spain, Britain and Russia.

People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 72,070 from 76,440 the day before.

There were 808 people in intensive care on Friday, down from 855 on Thursday, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 120,205 were declared recovered against 115,228 a day earlier.

The agency said 1.859 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.820 million on Thursday, out of a population of around 60 million.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones)

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