Civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said the decrease – from 4,068 on Friday to 3,994 – on Saturday was “important news because it allows our hospitals to breathe.”
The drop of 74, including 56 in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy, provides further evidence that the world’s worst-affected nation is on the road to recovery.
And while the death toll continues to mount, Italy also saw a further fall in the daily figure announced by the health ministry.
A further 681 deaths were confirmed, compared to 766 the previous day. The total now stands at 15,362.
The number of daily new cases remained relatively steady, at 4,806, bringing the total to 124,523. More than 20,000 of those have recovered.
However officials have urged the public to continue observing the nationwide lockdown, which has been extended until 13 April.
It followed reports that greater numbers of people were leaving their homes to go walking and shopping.
Lombardy’s governor has ordered residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside in an attempt to reduce further infections.
Attilio Fontana said the ordinance, which mirrors those in Veneto and Alto Adige, would last until Easter Monday.
Other European countries are continuing to see an increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care. France said
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