Italy reports 662 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, 21,052 new cases

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ROME, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Italy reported 662 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 814 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 21,052 from 24,099.

The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has seen 59,514 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain. It has also registered 1.71 million cases to date.

There were 194,984 swabs carried out in the past day, down from a previous 212,741, the ministry said.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 30,158 on Saturday, down 1,042 from the day before.

There were 192 new admissions to intensive care units, while the number of intensive care patients decreased by 50 to 3,517, reflecting those who died or were discharged after recovery.

When Italy's second wave of the epidemic was accelerating fast in the first half of November, hospital admissions were rising by around 1,000 per day, while intensive care occupancy was increasing by about 100 per day. (Reporting by Gavin Jones)