ROME, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Italy's COVID-19 pandemic trend kept improving on Monday, with active infections dropping under 35,000, according to the latest data by the country's Civil Protection Department.
On the same day, an official forecast suggested the coronavirus crisis was having a strong impact on the euro-zone's third largest economy, as expected, and would require big efforts in the recovery phase.
Total active infections stood at 34,730, with a decrease of 532 cases compared to Sunday, the Civil Protection Department stated in its daily bulletin.
Among those infected, some 283 patients are currently in intensive care, down by 4 patients on a daily basis; another 4,729 are hospitalized with symptoms (down by 135), and the remaining 29,718 are isolated at home for being asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
The country's coronavirus death toll grew to 33,964, after 65 fatalities were registered over the past 24 hours.
Some 747 new recoveries were also registered, bringing to 166,584 the total number of people cured since the pandemic officially broke out in the northern regions on Feb. 21.
The overall number of active COVID-19 infections, fatalities and recoveries rose by 280 to 235,278 cases over the past 24 hours.
As the pandemic slowed down visibly in recent weeks, Italy has lifted the lockdown imposed on March 10 but the government has been asking the public to respect rules for social distancing and other precautionary measures.
PANDEMIC IMPACT ON GROWTH
In a report issued on Monday, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) forecast the Italian gross domestic product (GDP) would contract by 8.3 percent this year, followed by a partial recovery of 4.6 percent in 2021.
"This year, the GDP fall will be determined mainly by domestic demand net of inventories (-7.2 percentage points), due to the contraction of consumption by households and non-profit institutions serving households (-8.7 percent), and of investments (-12.5 percent)," ISTAT stated.
"Net exports and inventories will also contribute negatively to the GDP growth, respectively by -0.3 percentage points and -0.8 percentage points."
In its forecast analysis, ISTAT took into account that the entire global economy would be affected by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Yet, the institute noted, the COVID-19 crisis impacted on Italy's economy in a delicate phase in which the domestic cycle was already "marked by signs of weakness (-0.2 percent was the GDP variation in the fourth quarter of 2019 against the previous quarter)."
The forecast was based on the assumptions that the Italian economy would return to growth in the third and fourth quarter of this year, and relied on the hypothesis that the country will not suffer a second wave of contagion, ISTAT explained.
Overall, however, the recovery was expected to truly strengthen from next year.
"The recovery path... will produce positive results in 2021, when the GDP is expected to start growing again (4.6 percent), supported by the contribution of the domestic demand net of inventories (4.2 percentage points), and, to a lesser extent, by the net foreign demand (0.3 percentage points) and inventories (0.1 percentage points)," ISTAT wrote.
In related news on Monday, a committee of economic experts in charge of consulting the government on recovery strategies in the second phase of the coronavirus emergency submitted its final report to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's cabinet, after eight weeks of work.
The report focused on some "overall goals, and six crucial fields for the revamp, with specific initiatives outlined for each of them," the committee explained in a statement.
More specifically, the selected fields were identified as "employment and businesses; infrastructure and environment; tourism, arts, and culture; public administration; education, research and skills; and individuals and households."
The committee, set up by the government on April 10, is made up of 24 scholars, technical state officials, and business professionals, was led by former CEO of Vodafone phone company Vittorio Colao. Enditem