Medical staff in a protective suit treat a patient suffering from coronavirus in Cremona, Italy. File/Reuters
Italy reported a second successive drop in daily deaths and infections from a coronavirus that has nevertheless claimed more than 6,000 lives in a month.
The Mediterranean country has now seen its daily fatalities come down from a world record 793 on Saturday to 651 on Sunday and 601 on Monday.
The number of new declared infections fell from 6,557 on Saturday to 4,789 on Monday.
The top medical officer for Milan's devastated Lombardy region appeared on television smiling for the first time in many weeks.
"We cannot declare victory just yet," Giulio Gallera said.
"But there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Italy's National Health Institute (ISS) chief Silvio Brusaferro was more guarded.
"These are positive numbers but I do not have the courage to firmly state that there is a downward trend," the medical expert told reporters.
Germany announced on Monday that it had accepted the Italian government's request to care for some of the sick, with six patients to be transferred to hospitals in Dresden and Leipzig, in the eastern state of Saxony.
Italians will desperately hope that weeks of living under a lockdown in which even a jog in the park was eventually banned was the price worth paying for beating back the new disease.
Saturday's record toll was followed by a late-night address to the nation in which Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the additional closure of "non-essential" factories.
His government also banned travel to help a country that turned into the new epicentre of the pandemic last week get through a critical stretch in which restrictions are supposed to finally show results.
"Now more than ever, everyone's commitment is needed," Health Minister Roberto Speranza said after Monday's figures came out.
Italy's toll now stands at 6,077 — more than that of China and third-placed Spain combined.
Italy reported 969 new deaths, Spain 769 and France 299 as Europe reeled from a crisis that led the United States on Friday to finalise an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package.
Elsewhere in Europe, frustrations with COVID-19 curbs were spilling over, with scuffles breaking out at a large anti-restrictions protest in the German city of Kassel, and thousands joining a similar demonstration in Liestal, Switzerland.
England's months-old rules have been relaxed thanks in large part to a successful vaccination drive, enabling outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, in what newspapers have dubbed "Happy Monday."
During the seven-day period of Feb.3-9, the EU as a whole recorded an average daily of 103,250 new infections, which was 16 per cent down on the previous week. The average number of deaths each day was 3,137, or seven percent fewer.
Prince Mohammed conferred Gen Bajwa with the King Abdulaziz Medal of Excellent Class for his "distinguished efforts in consolidating and strengthening bonds of friendship and joint cooperation and developing Saudi-Pakistani relations."
Her family and a number of social media users said that she committed suicide. Some believe that family members are involved in her killing and are trying to show the 'murder as a suicide.'
The statements of resolve came as Russia resumed strikes on central Kyiv in the first onslaught on the Ukrainian capital in three weeks — an attack Biden condemned as "more of their barbarism."