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HEALTH

Covid-19: Three Italian regions turn ‘white’ as case numbers continue to fall

Several of Italy's regions are allowed to drop most Covid-19 restrictions from Monday, as new cases and deaths in the country have fallen to a seven-month low.

Covid-19: Three Italian regions turn 'white' as case numbers continue to fall
Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Three Italian regions – Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Molise and Sardinia – are under ‘white zone’ rules from Monday 31st May, following the latest ordinance signed by the health minister on Friday.
 
Abruzzo, Veneto, Liguria and Umbria will turn white the week after, the government has said.
 
These regions are being downgraded from ‘yellow zone’ risk status to ‘white’ as planned, as the health data continues to improve across the country.

Under ‘white zone’ restrictions, regions can drop most of the restrictions currently in place in yellow zones, including the evening curfew and the restrictions on opening hours for businesses, including restaurants.

EXPLAINED: How has Italy changed the way it decides regional Covid-19 rules?

Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

The regions moving into white zones will be able to drop the last remaining restrictions, and reopen indoor restaurants and bars, fairs, theme parks, conferences and indoor swimming pools and hold weddings earlier than planned under the national roadmap for reopening.

So far, only mask-wearing and social distancing rules must remain in place in white zones, the health minister has said.

For now, nightclubs and discos are still suspended and it is not known if or when Italy may relax the rules on wearing masks outdoors.

And the final set of rules in each region depends on the local authority, as each is free to impose stricter restrictions than those set by the national government.

The regions moving into the low-restriction white zone have registered fewer than 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three weeks consecutively – the threshold for determining white zone eligibility.

In fact, they have all hit very low levels with the figure at 17 for Friuli-Venezia-Giulia 13 for Sardinia and 12 in Molise.

MAP: Which parts of Italy will become Covid-19 ‘white zones’ in June?

All indicators in the nation’s latest weekly coronavirus monitoring report, compiled by Italian health ministry and the Higher Health Institute (ISS), showed another decrease in the coronavirus numbers.

The national average weekly coronavirus incidence rate and Rt number had fallen again, while the average daily number of new coronavirus cases is now below 4,000 for the first time since October 10th, the latest data showed on Friday.

Italy on Sunday recorded 44 deaths from Covid-19, the lowest daily tally in more than seven months as the country continues to make progress with its coronavirus vaccinations.

READ ALSO: Italy’s coronavirus infection rate falls to lowest level since October

Though the reported numbers are always lower on Sundays and Mondays, this is the lowest number of deaths since October 14th, when the country had 43 fatalities.

Italy’s total death toll from the pandemic now stands at 126,046, according to Civil Protection Agency and Health Ministry data.

The number of people with an active coronavirus infection fell by 3,670 to 236,296, another seven-month low.

Meanwhile, Italy has now administered 34.2 million vaccine doses and 11.8 million people – nearly 20 percent of the population – have been fully vaccinated, the government said.

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HEALTH

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.

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