The numbers that show a year of Covid-19 in Italy

It has now been one year since parts of northern Italy declared their first coronavirus lockdowns, and the entire country has been living with the virus ever since. We look back on 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy, in numbers.

The numbers that show a year of Covid-19 in Italy
Italy has now been living with the coronavirus for over a year. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

Health data

2.8 million: the number of cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Italy since the pandemic began. 

96,000: Italy's total Covid-19 death toll to date. 

993: the highest number of deaths in Italy in a single day, recorded on December 3rd 2020. Before then the record was 921 on March 27th.

40,896: the most new cases recorded in Italy in one day, on November 13th 2020. During the first wave, the high was 6,554 on March 21st. 

Daily new cases regularly top 10,000 now, though that is partly due to far more widespread testing.

READ ALSO: Eight things the year-long Covid crisis has taught us about Italy

Photo: AFP

4,068: the most Covid-19 patients in intensive care at any one time, on April 3rd 2020. The highest number of ICU patients during the second wave was 3,848 on November 25th.

581,000: the total number of cases reported in Lombardy, the region with the most infections, which has seen more than 28,000 deaths. 

81: the mean age of people who have died from Covid-19 in Italy. There were more than 35,500 victims in the hardest hit age group of 80-89 year olds, according to the Higher Health Institute (ISS).

2.3 million: the number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 in Italy. 

19 million: the rough number of people who have been tested for coronavirus in Italy to date. 
0.99: the average Rt (reproduction) number across Italy, according to the latest official report. Ten areas of Italy currently have an Rt number above 1, which indicates that new cases will spread rapidly.

40-50 percent: the proportion of new cases in Italy that could involve one of the variants of the Sars-Cov-2 virus detected around the world in the past two months, according to experts. 

“In regions where the variant is found to account for at least 50 percent of cases, the more contagious variant will almost completely replace the 'standard' version within a month and a half from today,” Dr Rosario Corrado Spinella of Italy's National Research Council (CNR) warned this week


2: the number of governments Italy has had since the Covid emergency began, with zero elections. While Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte steered the country through its first lockdown and saw his approval ratings soar, his coalition government collapsed when it came to planning Italy's recovery.

He was replaced last week by former chief banker Mario Draghi, who now leads a “unity” government made up of the biggest parties from left and right plus technocrats.

READ ALSO: How will Italy's Covid-19 strategy change under the new government?

21: the number of rounds of applause Prime Minister Draghi got during his first speech in parliament. The longest came when he said: “Today unity is not an option but a duty. But it is a duty guided by what I am sure unites us all: love for Italy.”

Photo: Andrew Medichini/Pool/AFP


8.9 percent: the amount by which Italy's GDP shrank last year, according to figures from the national statistics office. That makes Italy one of the worst-hit economies in the European Union.

420,000: the number of jobs lost in Italy between February and December 2020. Working women have borne the brunt, with 99,000 women losing their jobs in December alone compared to 2,000 men.

Economists say women in Italy have been disproportionately hit as they more often have insecure positions in service industries, such as tourism or catering, which have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic.

€2.8 billion: the amount that US tourists alone would usually contribute to the Italian economy in a year, most of which was lost in 2020 due to restrictions on travel from outside the EU. 

In total, international tourism in Italy is typically worth an estimated €42 billion.

€209 billion: the sum of EU emergency funds that Italy hopes to claim, with the government due to submit a spending plan to Brussels by the end of April. Draghi has indicated that his priorities are reforms to the tax and justice systems, as well as cutting bureaucratic red tape and getting pupils safely back to school.

Rules and restrictions

2: the number of Covid-19 deaths reported in Italy by the time the first local lockdowns were declared on February 22nd 2020, in ten towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto.

The first locally transmitted cases had been detected days earlier and in the days that followed, the count rapidly surged from a handful of patients to hundreds. Swathes of northern Italy would then be locked down, followed soon afterwards by the entire country.

READ ALSO: Codogno one year on: How is the first Italian town hit by coronavirus faring?

55: the number of days Italy spent in full nationwide lockdown between March 10th and May 3rd 2020. 

The rules were progressively relaxed over the spring and summer, only to start being tightened again in autumn. The government declared a further ten days of national lockdown over the Christmas, New Year and Epiphany holidays.

94 percent: how much visits to restaurants, bars, cafes and other leisure places decreased in the early weeks of the first lockdown, according to an April 2020 report by Google using data collected via its Maps app. Trips to food shops and pharmacies were down 85 percent, while visits to parks and beaches fell by 90 percent.

7.8 million: the number of people stopped by police in April 2020, when checks were at their highest. Around 256,000 people were fined that month for breaking strict lockdown rules.

For comparison, in January 2021 some 2.8 million people were checked and just under 35,000 fined, according to Interior Ministry figures.

6pm: the time at which people gathered to sing together from their windows, balconies and rooftops during the early days of lockdown.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

3: the number of 'zones' in Italy now, where restrictions get tighter depending on whether each region is classed yellow, orange or red. There is technically a fourth zone, white, but no region has yet seen its infection numbers fall low enough to be declared one.

MAP: Which zone is your region in under Italy's tier system?

21: the number of factors that health authorities take into account when deciding which regions should be classed as high-risk, including Rt number, number of patients in hospital and test positivity rate. The data is reassessed weekly.

10pm: the time by when you should be home for the night under Italy's nationwide curfew. You're allowed out again from 5am. 

3: the number of legitimate reasons for leaving your region of Italy while a domestic travel ban remains in force, according to the latest version of the 'autodichiarazione' (self-certification) form you're supposed to fill in if you need to make an urgent trip. They are listed as: work; health reasons; other essential reasons.

The ban will continue until at least March 27th, the government announced this week.

€400-1,000: the sum you could be fined if you are caught breaking Italy's coronavirus rules, for example by disobeying curfew, travelling between regions without an essential reason, failing to self-isolate after returning from overseas, or not wearing a face mask in public.

1500: the toll-free number you can call in Italy for any questions related to the pandemic. The helpline, run by the Health Ministry, operates 24 hours a day.


3.6 million: the number of doses of Covid-19 vaccines that have been administered in Italy so far, immunizing some 1.3 million people.

READ ALSO: Where to register for a Covid-19 vaccine in your region of Italy

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

€0: the cost of getting a Covid-19 vaccine in Italy, which the Health Ministry has said should be free for all.

6: the number of categories into which Italy has divided its population to determine who gets vaccinated first. Older and medically vulnerable people are the top priority, while young, healthy adults not working in key sectors are the last in line.

Member comments

  1. Italy as the first country outside China to be hit so hard with COVID-19, did an amazing job under so much pressure. We were in Australia and were due to holiday there in April and May last year, so were looking very closely with how everything unfolded. It was so sad to watch and looked impossible to get on top of.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”