Italy reports 16,377 new coronavirus cases, 672 deaths - health ministry

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Daily life during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Naples

ROME (Reuters) - Italy reported 672 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, against 541 on Sunday, and 16,377 new infections, down from 20,648 the day before, the health ministry said, with the fall in cases reflecting the usual drop in the number of swabs conducted on Sundays.

The first Western country hit by the virus, Italy has seen 55,576 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain's. It has also registered 1.6 million cases to date.

There were 130,524 swabs carried out in the past day, down from a previous 176,934.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 33,187 on Monday, up 308 on the day before.

The number in intensive care decreased by nine, the same decline as was seen on Sunday, and now stands at 3,744.

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 Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones)