Italian region of Abruzzo declared ‘red zone’ as coronavirus situation worsens

Italian region of Abruzzo declared 'red zone' as coronavirus situation worsens
A factory worker arrives for a shift near Pescara, Abruzzo. Photo: AFP
The central Italian region of Abruzzo has declared itself a red zone, with stricter measures coming into effect on Wednesday November 18th.

Regional president Marco Marsilio signed the order on Tuesday evening, reportedly deciding not to wait until Friday for the latest report from the Higher Health Institute (ISS) as the situation in the region has worsened.

The stricter measures came into effect after midnight, on Wednesday.

Usually, changes to the tiered system are decided by the health ministry based on the weekly reports from the ISS.

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

But this time health minister Roberto Speranza agreed that the region could sign an ordinance bringing in stricter rules before the health ministry's nationwide review, as the local health authority argued that previous orange level restrictions were not enough in light of the latest health data, Italian media reports.

Abruzzo recorded 729 new cases and 13 recent deaths in the previous 24 hours.

However the most significant figure is thought to be hospitalizations, of which there 26 more. The region reported 43.7% of its intensive care beds are occupied.

Under Italy's latest emergency decree, a national three-tier framework means some of the Covid-19 rules now differ based on where you are in Italy.

Regions are now divided into three categories: red, orange and yellow, under a new system based on how severe the coronavirus situation is locally.

People in the highest-risk zones are told to stay within their comune, or municipality, and are only allowed to leave for work, study, health or other essential reasons, as Italy brings in the strictest measures since its two-month spring lockdown was eased.

The tier system had already been updated twice at a national level since it was introduced on November 6th.

The further restrictions applicable to red zones include tighter travel restrictions and online learning for students above the second grade of middle school.

What are the red zone rules?

In addition to not being allowed to travel from one municipality to another, people in red zones are not allowed to move around within their own area unless for essential reasons, by either public or private transport.
 
 
If you need to leave your home for work, study, health or emergency reasons these must be justified using a self-certification form.
 
You can only enter or leave an orange or red zone for the same urgent reasons.
 

And, in addition to bars, cafes, restaurants, pastry shops and other catering businesses being closed to the public, as in orange zones, shops are to be closed except for those deemed essential, which include supermarkets and other food shops, tabacchi, bookshops and stationary shops.
 
Hairdressers and beauticians can also remain open.

 
How are the rules decided?
 
Italy's Health Ministry decides which region is in which zone based on the advice of its Technical Scientific Committee (CTS), effectively bypassing regional authorities – many of which have said they were against a local lockdown or other tough measures.
 
 
The CTS takes 21 indicators into account including each region's Rt number (which shows the transmission rate) as well as factors like hospital bed capacity and whether local health authorities are able to successfully trace the source of outbreaks.
 
 For more information please see the Italian Health Ministry's website (in English).

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