The Lombardy region of Italy has recorded no daily coronavirus deaths for the first time in nine months.

It was in the northern area that the first Italian case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in February of last year.

At the start of this month, it had confirmed 33,782 deaths with the virus – far more than any other region.

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Sky News reported from the city of Bergamo, northeast of Milan, last March, and found people “gasping for air, clutching at their chests”.

“The medical teams are fighting a war here and they are losing,” chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay observed.

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But the region’s vice governor, Letizia Moratti, tweeted on Friday: “Today zero deaths for COVID in Lombardy – hasn’t happened since 6 October.”

Hospitals, where intensive care wards were once overwhelmed, admitted only one new patient to ICU on Thursday.

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Health officials, however, are worried about the Delta variant, cases of which have been rising in Italy since May.

There are also concerns that people may become careless about social distancing while on holiday.

Just over a third of people in the country are fully vaccinated – something officials are aiming to raise to four fifths by the time summer is over.