Half of Italy under moderate pandemic risk as 4 regions turn ‘yellow’

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Amid a recent surge in new Covid-19 cases, half of Italy is currently under moderate pandemic risk, as the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Lazio and Sicily turned “yellow” after the number of people who tested positive for the virus in hospital and intensive care units increased above national parameters.

These four regions added to Liguria, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Marche and Calabria, plus the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, pushing the total number of yellow zones across the country to 11, reports Xinhua news agency.

In the four-tiered system implemented in Italy since late 2020, the yellow zone indicates a low-intermediate, or moderate risk of virus transmission; the orange and red zones indicate the medium and high risks respectively, while the white zone stands for a low risk.

Considering the success of the vaccination rollout in the country, however, the yellow zone currently entails a low level of restrictions that include wearing facemasks outdoors and using FFP2 face masks only on public transport, cinema and theatres.

Adding to this, only people holding the “super” green pass — the certificate showing proof of Covid-19 vaccination or recovery from the infection within 6 months — are allowed to be served indoors in bars and restaurants in the yellow zone.

Italy’s remaining 10 regions are still in the white zone category and under the most relaxed anti-pandemic rules, which still require people to wear facemasks in any indoor place, and ban unvaccinated people from sitting in restaurants and bars, cinemas, sport venues, nightclubs and stadiums.

As in several other European countries, Italy has seen a spike in new coronavirus cases through December 2021, mostly due to the effects of the Omicron variant.

As of Tuesday morning, the country’s caseload and death toll stood at 6,396,110 and 137,786, respectively.

On December 30, Italy recorded 126,888 new cases against the previous day, surpassing the threshold of 100,000 daily cases for the first time in the country.

Over 144,000 daily cases were then registered on December 31, and over 141,000 on January 1, according to data by the Health Ministry.

However, the surge has come amid a high participation in the vaccination plan, which has so far helped keep the number of serious or deadly cases very low compared to the earlier waves.

So far, nearly 86 per cent of people aged over 12 have been fully vaccinated in Italy, and over 64 per cent of the target population have received the booster shot.

About 9.2 per cent of children aged 5-11 have received at least one vaccine dose.

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