Italian health officials have expressed cautious hope after the coronavirus death toll edged down from the previous day's world record and the rate of infections slowed.

Ravaged from its month-long pandemic crisis, the total number of victims who have died of Covid-19 in Italy is 5,476 while the number of people infected by the virus neared 60,000.

However, top health officials sounded, while not upbeat, encouraged to see Sunday's daily deaths fall back from Saturday's grisly 793 to a slightly less shocking 651.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 59,138 from a previous 53,578, an increase of 10.4%, the Civil Protection Agency said.

This is the lowest rise in percentage terms since the contagion came to light on 21 February.

Army and police on the streets of Bergamo, Lombardy, the Italian region worst hit by Covid-19

Of those originally infected nationwide, 7,024 had fully recovered by Sunday, compared to 6,072 on Saturday.

There were 3,009 people in intensive care against a previous 2,857.

The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy remained in a critical situation, with 3,456 deaths and 27,206 cases against a previously given 3,095 and 25,515 respectively.

"The figures announced today are lower than those for yesterday," said Italian civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli.

"I hope, and we all hope, that these figures can be borne out in the coming days. But do not let your guard down."

Italy has sacrificed its economy and liberties by shutting down almost everything to halt the spread of a virus the government views as an existential threat.

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.