Rise in Covid infections in Italy

Italy sees first rise in covid infections in 15 weeks due to Delta variant

Coronavirus News

Italy’s health authorities reported a slight rise in covid infections this week. The rise is due to the spread of the Delta variant according to the weekly coronavirus monitoring report from the health ministry and Higher Health Institute (ISS) published on Friday.

The transmission rate, Rt, has risen from 0.63 to 0.66 in the past week. Mirroring this increase was the incidence rate of cased per 100,000 inhabitants which rose from 9 to 11.

Delta variant responsible for increase

The report confirmed a growing number of cases were being attributed to the Delta variant in Italy.

European health authorities expect the Delta strain to become the “dominant” one on the continent as it is more infectious. Currently, estimates put the variant at around one third of all the cases in Italy.

Italy’s evidence-based medicines agency Gimbe analysed the data, showing the first rise in news cases since March.

“After 15 consecutive weeks of descent, there is an increase of 5% in new cases compared to the previous week. Testing activity, after 7 weeks of decline, shows an increase of 15.5%,” the foundation’s report stated.

However, Italy’s testing levels remain “too low” and contact tracing “insufficient” to truly understand the level of new cases.

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 and the number of deaths continues to fall across the country, the report confirmed.

Ten regions continue to show falling numbers

Overall, there may be a rise in covid infections in Italy but in ten regions the data shows numbers are still falling.

The regions where new cases have risen are Abruzzo, Campania, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Veneto. The autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano also show increases.

Figures across many European countries are increasing due to the more infectious Delta variant. However, the European average infection rate currently remains far lower than that in the UK.

On Thursday, Italian health minister Roberto Speranza stressed “the pandemic is not over”. He urged people to show “great prudence and caution, particularly due to variants”, saying Italy’s health situation was “considerably better than what we have known in previous months, but we must keep our guard up”.

Covid measures

On June 28th, Italy declared every region a low-risk ‘white’ zone. Then the government relaxed most of Italy’s nationwide measures against covid.

Rules do remain in place regarding physical distancing, wearing of masks in indoor public places and crowded outdoor areas and with restrictions on venue capacity.

To date, Italy’s vaccination programme has achieved full vaccination for 41% of the population (c.22 million) aged over 12.

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