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HEALTH

Eight charts that show the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy

From new infections to the positivity rate, there are a lot of numbers to keep track of when it comes to following the coronavirus. These graphs and maps give you some of the most essential data for understanding how the pandemic is developing in Italy.

Eight charts that show the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy
How many coronavirus patients are hospitalised in Italy, and how many are in intensive care? Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

How many cases have been reported?

This graph shows the number of new infections reported each day in Italy since the Ministry of Health began tracking Covid-19 cases in February. 

New cases per day continue to hit record highs recently, with around 40,000 cases a day now being reported.

AT A GLANCE: What are the coronavirus rules in my part of Italy now?

During the first wave in spring, the single highest increase in one day was 6,557 new cases on March 21st.

How many tests are being done?

Part of the reason so many new cases are being detected is that Italy is carrying out more tests than ever before. 

More than 150,000 tests are now being performed per day – the most since the start of the pandemic.

This graph shows how testing has increased over the past three months.

What percentage of tests are positive?

The rise in confirmed cases can't be explained entirely by increased testing. The percentage of swabs coming back positive has also been rising in recent days. 

The graph below shows how Italy's positivity rate (percentage of total tests that are positive) has changed over the past three months.

How many people are in hospital?

Many of the new infections now being reported have mild or no symptoms, and have been detected thanks to proactive tracing and testing.

This chart shows the number of patients in hospital (more serious cases) alongside the number of people in isolation at home (milder cases).

How many people have died?

Deaths per day remain far lower now than when the first wave of the pandemic was at its height. 

More than 900 deaths were reported in a single day on March 27th, the highest daily toll to date. 

Looking more closely at the past three months, however, deaths have been increasing – albeit at a slower rate than during the first wave.

Where is the coronavirus spreading in Italy?

Some regions that escaped the worst of the first wave, such as Campania, have seen a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks. 

IN MAPS: Where are coronavirus cases rising in Italy?

This chart shows the regions that reported the most new cases in the past 24 hours, alongside their total number of cases.

 

Which travellers have to get tested or go into quarantine?

As well as banning tourism from outside Europe, Italy has imposed entry requirements on certain countries within the EU, including mandatory testing or quarantine on arrival. 

And travel has been banned altogether from a handful of countries where infection rates are highest.

This map shows under what conditions you can enter Italy from other parts of Europe.

READ MORE: What are the rules on travelling to Italy right now?

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HEALTH

Living in Italy: Five tips to help you survive the local pharmacy

From ear piercings to flu jabs, Italian ‘farmacie’ are among the most useful stores in the country, but they’re also very odd places. Here are our tips on getting through the pharmacy experience.

Living in Italy: Five tips to help you survive the local pharmacy

Italian pharmacies aren’t just stores selling prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

As a customer, you’ll find all sorts of natural remedies, basic health supplies and personal care items on their shelves. 

You’ll also be able to receive basic medical services (for instance, blood pressure checks, Covid tests and flu jabs) and some non-health-related ones (like getting your ears pierced!) in most branches. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: Can I still get the flu vaccine in Italy? 

But, while being extremely useful stores, Italian farmacie (pronunciation available here) are also peculiar places and their set of unwritten rules and solidified traditions may well throw off newcomers.. 

So here are five tips that might help you complete your first expeditions to your local pharmacy without making a fool of yourself.

1 – Decipher your doctor’s scribbles before your trip

Much like some of their foreign colleagues, Italian GPs have a penchant for writing prescriptions that no one else is actually able to read. 

We might never find out why doctors seem so intent on making ancient hieroglyphs fashionable again, but their calligraphic efforts will surely get in the way of you trying to buy whatever medicine you need to survive. 

To avoid hiccups, make sure you know exactly what you need to get. If in doubt, reach out to your GP to confirm.

Don’t rely on pharmacists being able to figure out your doctor’s handwriting because they often have no clue either.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to make a doctor’s appointment in Italy 

Pharmacy in Codogno, near Milan

In most small towns and rural areas local pharmacies have very ‘thin’ opening hours. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

2 – Double-check the pharmacy’s opening times

If you’re from the UK or the US, you might be used to pharmacies being open from 8am to 10pm on weekdays and having slightly reduced opening times over the weekend. 

You can forget about that in Italy. In big cities, most pharmacies will shut no later than 8pm on weekdays and will be closed on either Saturdays or Sundays.

READ ALSO: Coughs, colds and flu: What to say and do if you fall sick in Italy 

As for small towns or villages, opening times will have a nice Middle Ages vibe to them, with local stores remaining shut on weekends and keeping their doors open from 9am to 12.30pm and then from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on weekdays. 

So always check your local pharmacy’s hours before leaving home and, should their times not be available online, call them up. An awkward phone conversation with the pharmacist is still preferable to a wasted trip.

3 – Get the ‘numerino

Some Italian pharmacies have a ticket-dispensing machine with the aim of regulating the queue – a concept which is still foreign to many across the country.

All customers are expected to get a numbered paper ticket (the famed ‘numerino’) from the above machine and wait for their number to be called to walk up to the pharmacist’s desk. 

Now, the law of the land categorically prohibits customers from getting within a five-metre radius of the desk without a numerino

Also, trying to break that rule may result in a number of disdainful sideways glances from local customers.

4 – You cannot escape the in-store conversations, so embrace them 

Pharmacies aren’t just stores. They’re a cornerstone of Italian life and locals do a good deal of socialising on the premises. 

After all, the waiting times are often a bit dispiriting, so how can you blame them for killing the time?

Small pharmacy in Italy

Pharmacies are an essential part of Italian life and culture. Photo by Marco SABADIN / AFP

You might think that locals won’t want to talk to you because you’re a foreigner or don’t know the language too well, but you’ll marvel at how chatty some are.

While chit-chat might not be your cup of tea, talking with locals might help you improve your Italian, so it’s worth a shot.

5 – “Vuoi scaricarlo?”

The pharmacist finally gets you what you need and you’re now thinking that your mission is over. Well, not yet.

Before charging you for the items in question, the pharmacist will ask you whether you’d like to ‘scaricarli’ (literally, ‘offload them’) or not, which, no matter how good your Italian is, will not make any sense to you.

What the pharmacist is actually asking you is whether you want to link the purchase to your codice fiscale (tax code). 

READ ALSO: Codice fiscale: How to get your Italian tax code (and why you need one)   

That’s because Italy offers residents a 19-percent discount on some health-related expenses, which can be claimed through one’s annual income declaration (dichiarazione dei redditi) by attaching the receipts of all the eligible payments.

Whether you want to scaricare or not, this is the last obstacle before you can make your way back home.

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