MAPS: Where are the new Covid-19 variants spreading in Italy?

MAPS: Where are the new Covid-19 variants spreading in Italy?
Health workers prepare to test arriving passengers at Cagliari airport in Sardinia. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Highly infectious variants first identified in the UK, Brazil and South Africa are now confirmed in Italy. Here's what we know about where the new strains are spreading.

The variant most widely present in Italy is the one identified in the UK in December, which is now believed to account for more than half of all new Covid-19 cases in Italy.

The UK variant is involved in 54 percent of recent cases, according to the latest estimate by Italy’s Higher Health Institute, the ISS.

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In some parts of the country it’s even more prevalent: more than 70 percent of new cases are tied to the variant in Liguria and Sardinia, the ISS calculates, while in Molise the figure is over 93 percent.

Meanwhile the Brazilian variant accounts for 4.3 percent of cases nationwide, with outbreaks mainly concentrated in central Italy, especially Umbria (just over 36 percent) and Tuscany (around 24 percent).

The South African variant is the least prevalent, accounting for just 0.4 percent of new cases in Italy. Most cases to date have been identified in Lombardy and the autonomous province of Bolzano.

The figures come from a nationwide analysis of the genetic make-up of the virus found in more than 1,200 positive swabs collected from patients in mid-February in labs around Italy. 

The first case of the UK variant was detected in northern Italy in late December, in a passenger who had recently flown back from Britain. It has since been identified in almost every region of Italy.

The Brazilian variant was first detected in Lombardy in late January, but since then has spread most widely in Umbria and Tuscany.

The South African variant was also first identified in Lombardy, in a passenger who tested positive in early February after flying back to Milan from a country in southern Africa.

It remains most prevalent in the north of Italy, though cases have also been reported on Sicily. 

Find all The Local’s updates on the coronavirus pandemic in Italy here.


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