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HEALTH

Tuscany and Campania declared Covid red zones as Italy records 40,000 new cases

Italy declared two more regions red zones and three more orange zones on Friday as the daily number of new coronavirus cases exceeded 40,000.

Tuscany and Campania declared Covid red zones as Italy records 40,000 new cases
Naples and the surrounding Campania region has been designated a lower-risk area, sparking anger from local officials. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

As Italy continues to struggle with a worsening coronavirus situation in many parts of the country, the health ministry announced the regions of Campania and Tuscany will be designated high risk “red zones”.

Three more regions, Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Marche went from being yellow to medium-risk orange zones.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza will sign an ordinance on Friday night, and the new restrictions come into force on Sunday November 15th.

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

The change means Italy's regions are now divided into the following categories:

Red (high risk) zones: Calabria, Campania, Tuscany Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta, autonomous province of Bolzano (also known as Alto Adige/South Tyrol).

Orange (medium-high risk) zones: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Liguria, Puglia, Sicily, Marche, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Yellow (moderate risk) zones: Lazio, Molise, Sardinia, Veneto, autonomous province of Trento (Trentino).

The health ministry announced the new classifications as it revealed the latest national health data on Friday evening.

Italy recorded 40,902 new infections in the past 24 hours according to health ministry figures.

READ ALSO: 'We are afraid': Naples residents prepare for new restrictions as hospitals overwhelmed

This was the highest daily number yet. Italy also carried out the highest number of tests yet, at 254,908.

There were 550 more deaths in the same period.

There are now 3,230 patients in intensive care in Italy, and more than 33,000 people are now in hospital – around the same number as during the peak of the first wave, in April.

Red zone regions are under the maximum restrictions after Italy introduced its three-tier system last week.

The government has now updated the regional system twice since it was introduced on Friday November 6th.

Tuscany was declared on orange zone on Wednesday, while Campania had been designated a yellow zone until now.

READ ALSO: ‘No plan, just hope’: How is Italy going to get the second wave under control?

Ministers bumped up five regions from yellow to orange zone restrictions on Wednesday, after Monday's weekly monitoring report from the Ministry of Health and the Higher Health Institute (ISS).gave a worrying picture of the coronavirus situation across the country.

“All regions are classified as being at high risk of an uncontrolled and unmanageable epidemic, or at moderate risk with a high probability of progressing to high risk in the coming weeks,” the report read.
 
Health authorities have repeatedly warned that hospitals across Italy, and particularly in hard-hit areas such as Milan and Naples, are struggling to cope with a large number of patients.
 
Some regions have meanwhile started bringing in their own additional rules as part of efforts to avoid crowding and further transmission of the coronavirus.

Veneto has declared itself “yellow plus” and, along with Emilia-Romagna and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, will introduce new regional ordinances urging residents to avoid exercising or simply strolling on the streets of their town centres.

Q&A: Your key questions about Italy's coronavirus rules answered

Central Milan stands near empty after the region of Lombardy was declared a red zone on Friday November 6th. Photo: AFP

Orange zones face slightly less severe restrictions than red zones.

 
People in regions set to to move from yellow to orange zone restrictions will no longer be allowed to enter or leave their municipality or region without “proven” work or health-related reasons for doing so.
 
Bars and restaurants will close, though takeaway and delivery is still allowed.
 
 
People in red and orange zones are also asked not to move around within their municipality unless necessary.
 
The entire country remains under an evening curfew between 10pm and 5am.
 
 
Italy last week introduced the tiered system of restrictions, which is based on 21 different criteria, as it sought to avoid a second nationwide lockdown.
 
 
However, Conte insisted again on Wednesday that he is trying to avoid tough national measures like those announced in March.
 
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in Italy passed the symbolic one million mark on Wednesday, according to official data, as health experts said the coronavirus situation in Italy is now “out of control”.

An epidemic is defined as 'out of control' “when positive cases exceed one percent of the population, and (on Wednesday) we broke through the threshold of one percent of the population currently being infected with Sars-Cov-2,” Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine foundation, Gimbe, told reporters on Thursday.

READ ALSO:  Where to find the latest Covid-19 information for your region of Italy

 

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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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