ROME (Reuters) – Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 285 on Thursday, against 323 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 1,872, down from 2,086 on Wednesday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 27,967, the agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States.

The number of officially confirmed cases, which includes those who have died or recovered, was 205,463, the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.

People registered as currently carrying the illness declined to 101,551 from 104,657 on Wednesday.

There were 1,694 people in intensive care on Thursday against a previous 1,795, maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 75,945 were declared recovered against 71,252 a day earlier.

The agency said 1.355 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.313 million the day before, out of a population of around 60 million.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones)