UPDATE: Italy announces further Covid restrictions in five regions as contagion rate rises

Italy's government has tightened restrictions, with three more Italian regions becoming higher-risk 'orange' zones and two regions declared red zones from Monday.

UPDATE: Italy announces further Covid restrictions in five regions as contagion rate rises
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The health ministry has published an official ordinance declaring that the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy and Marche become 'orange' zones under Italy's tiered system of coronavirus rules.

Basilicata this week reported the highest contagion rate of any region, and has now been declared a red zone.

Molise, where there are already 33 municipalities in lockdown, was also classified as a red zone.

Sardinia meanwhile is set to become Italy's first lower-risk 'white zone'.

The changes come into effect on Monday, March 1st.

MAP: Which zone is your region in under Italy's coronavirus rules?

Italy in January announced the new white zone classification, along with red, orange, and yellow.
Regions classified under this band are exempt from restrictions in other zones, including the 10pm curfew and 6pm closing time for bars and restaurants.
However, the final set of rules in place in each region depends on the local authority.
In Sardinia's case, the regional governor signed an ordinance on Sunday stating that the curfew has been moved back to 11.30pm, and that restaurants must close at 11pm instead of 6pm. Bars must close at 9pm.

These measures are in force in in Sardinia from Monday March 1st until March 15th (excluding any towns covered by additonal mayors' ordinances).

In orange zones, bars and restaurants are closed and as people cannot leave their towns of residence unless for work reasons or emergencies.

People in the highest-risk red zones are told not to move around within their town except for work, study, health or other urgent reasons, while non-essential shops are also closed.
The changes are based on data from the weekly coronavirus monitoring report issued by Italy's health ministry and the Higher Health Institute (ISS)

READ ALSO: Where and how much are coronavirus cases rising in Italy?

Friday's report stated that the general level of risk nationwide had worsened for the fourth consecutive week.

Ten regions have an Rt (contagion rate) greater than 1, while Basilicata has an Rt over 1.25.

“Further mitigation measures are urgently needed across the nation, and timely mitigation-containment measures are needed in the areas of greatest spread to prevent health services being overwhelmed,” the report stated.

It said a “drastic reduction in physical interaction between people” was needed.

“It is fundamentally important that people avoid all contact with people other than those they live with that are not strictly necessary, and stay at home as mush as possible,” it said.

The number of regions where the number of Covid patients in intensive care was above the critical threshold and had increased from five to eight, data showed.

The report also found that the average age of people who had tested positive was falling, and is now at 44.

Italy on Friday was also awaiting for details of the measures to be included in a revised emergency decree, due by March 5th.
So far it looks likely that the regional tiered system will stay in place, along with localised lockdowns in dozens of towns and provinces affected by outbreaks of more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

See full details of the current classifications and the rules in each zone hereFor further details on the current coronavirus situation in Italy, please see the Health Ministry's website (in English).

Member comments

  1. I think it’s time for a vaccine passport or certificate that is counterfeit proof, that will allow free access across Schengen borders.
    The economy needs to fire up again, to save livelihoods and families, and vaccinated individuals are extremely low-risk. We all drive, fly, eat and drink unhealthily sometimes. Life is not risk-free, and even if it was – how utterly boring that would be. Life is for living….

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Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Italy recorded a spike in cases of West Nile fever in the past week and remains by far the worst-affected country in Europe, new data shows.

Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Italy has recorded more than 50 new West Nile virus infections in a week, with a total number of 144 cases and ten fatalities this summer so far.

This equated to a 53 percent increase in cases over the last seven days, Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) said in a report published on Thursday.

Three more people died from the virus in the last week, bringing the total death toll up to 10. 

All known cases and deaths so far were in the northern Italian regions of Veneto, Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna.

The infection is not new to Italy, but this summer has brought the highest number of cases recorded yet.

READ ALSO: Italy reports a surge in deaths this summer due to extreme heat

Cases remain relatively rare in Europe overall, but Italy has by far the largest number.

According to the most recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), dated August 3rd, 120 cases were recorded this year so far – 94 of which were in Italy.

Greece reported 23 cases, Romania two and Slovakia one. Only Italy has reported fatalities.

Carried by birds, West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

West Nile fever cannot pass from human to human and most infected people show no symptoms, according to the ISS.

In healthy people the virus is unlikely to cause more than a headache or sore throat. 

The infection is usually only dangerous for people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly, and the most severe symptoms occur in fewer than one percent of infected people.

There is no vaccine for West Nile fever. “Currently vaccines are being studied, but for the moment prevention consists mainly in reducing exposure to mosquito bites,” the ISS states.

Italy’s health authorities advises taking precautions against mosquitos, especially during the insects’ peak activity at sunrise and sunset. Recommendations include:

  • Use repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers.
  • Sleep in rooms with air-conditioning where possible and keep windows closed or screened.
  • Use mosquito nets.

See more information on West Nile fever in Italy on the health ministry’s website.