ROME (Reuters) - Italy reported 280 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 253 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections declined to 18,916 from Friday's 20,499.
Some 323,047 tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with 325,404 previously, the ministry said.
Italy has registered 97,507 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.
The country has reported 2.91 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with COVID-19, excluding those in intensive care, stood at 18,372 on Saturday, increasing from 18,292 a day earlier.
There were 163 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 188 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients rose to 2,216 from a previous 2,194.
When Italy's second wave of the epidemic was accelerating quickly in the first half of November, hospital admissions were rising by about 1,000 per day, while intensive care occupancy was increasing by about 100 per day.
(Reporting by Gavin Jones)