The rising infection rate over the past four weeks is largely due to more infectious variants, Italian health authorities have warned.
Italy has entered a third wave of coronavirus infections, Italy’s GIMBE group of health experts warned, as last week’s health data confirmed a sharp rise in numbers.
Weekly infections increased by a third to more than 123,000 cases between February 24 and March 2, the highest since early December.
As of March 9, there have been more than 3.1 million confirmed cases in Italy.
However, not all parts of the country are seriously affected at this time.
New cases of coronavirus by region in the last 24 hours, as of Wednesday, March 10. Map: Antonio Caramia
Analysis of official data on Tuesday showed that the steepest increases over the past week occurred in Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trento. In the same time period, Sardinia has the fewest new infections, followed by Calabria.
In the last 24 hours, the Covid-19 figures in Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Campania are the ones that have increased the most, and the Aosta Valley followed by Calabria shows the fewest new cases.
The following graph shows the relationship between cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the percentage increase in cases.
The positioning of the regions is indicative of the national averages of cases during the last two weeks, which are shown on the horizontal axis (February 23 to March 9) and the percentage increase in cases, which is shown on the vertical axis. (February 30 to March 9).
The regions, provinces and cities of Italy are under different levels of restrictions at the moment depending on the local contagion rate.
Tighter restrictions were put in place on Monday in Campania, which includes Naples, which joined Basilicata and Molise in the list of blocked “red” regions.
The closures have also been applied at a more local level in dozens of provinces and cities – which caused the closure of bars, restaurants, most shops and all schools, including kindergartens.
‘Mini red zones’: Where are the local coronavirus blocks in Italy?
As hospital intensive care units are again under pressure, the government is now considering increasing restrictions nationwide, from extending the current night curfew to a nationwide shutdown, according to media reports.
Additional measures could be announced on Friday if the infection rate rises again this week.
According to the Italian Higher Institute of Health (ISS), at least 54% of all cases in Italy are now caused by the so-called British variant.
This variant is capable of spreading 35 to 40% faster than the original strain, the ISS said.
Italy’s vaccine program has made slow progress so far, although the government last week announced a plan significantly accelerate vaccinations between March and June.
You can follow all the latest updates from The Local on the coronavirus situation in Italy here.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism