Italy reports 37,242 new coronavirus cases on Friday, 699 deaths

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FILE PHOTO: Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome

ROME (Reuters) - Italy has registered 37,242 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday, up from 36,176 the day before.

The ministry also reported 699 COVID 19-related deaths, up from 653 on Thursday.

There were 238,077 coronavirus swabs carried out in the past day, the ministry said, against a previous 250,186.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus and has seen 48,569 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain's. It has also registered 1.346 million cases.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Friday, reporting 9,221 new cases, up from 7,453 the day before.

The southern region of Campania, which has only about 60% of Lombardy's population, chalked up the second highest number of new cases, at 4,226.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones, editing by Crispian Balmer)

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