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HEALTH

Where are coronavirus cases rising fastest in Italy?

As Italian scientific experts warn that coronavirus cases are on the rise again, here's a closer look at which parts of the country are worst affected.

Where are coronavirus cases rising fastest in Italy?
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The rising infection rate over the past four weeks is in large part due to more infectious variants, Italian health authorities have warned.

Italy has entered a third wave of coronavirus contagions, Italy’s GIMBE health think tank has warned, as health data last week confirmed a sharp increase in numbers.

Weekly infections rose by a third to more than 123,000 cases between February 24th and March 2nd – the highest since early December.

As of March 9th, there have been over 3.1 million confirmed cases in Italy.

However not all parts of the country are badly affected at the moment.

New coronavirus cases by region within the past 24 hours, as of Wednesday March 10th. Map: Antonio Caramia

Analysis of official data on Tuesday showed that the sharpest increases over the past week occurred in Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trento. In the same time frame, Sardinia has the lowest amount of new infections, followed by Calabria.

In the past 24 hours, Covid-19 figures in Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Campania are rising the most with Valle d’Aosta followed by Calabria showing the least amount of new cases.

The graph below shows the relationship between cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the percentage increase in cases.

The positioning of the regions are indicative of the national case averages over the last two weeks, shown on the horizontal axis (February 23 – March 9) and the percentage increase in cases, shown on the vertical axis (February 30 – March 9).

Italy’s regions, provinces and towns are under varying 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 “red” regions under lockdown.

Lockdowns have also been enforced at more local level in dozens of provinces and cities – leading to the closure of bars, restaurants, most shops, and of all schools including nurseries.

‘Mini red zones’: Where are Italy’s local coronavirus lockdowns? 

As hospital intensive care units are again coming under pressure, the government is now considering increased nationwide restrictions, from extending the current evening curfew to a national lockdown, according to media reports.

Additional measures could be announced by Friday if the infection rate rises again this week.

READ ALSO: Lockdown by next week? These are the new Covid restrictions Italy is considering 

According to Italy’s higher Health Institute (ISS), at least 54% of all cases in Italy are now caused by the so-called British variant.

This variant is able to spread 35-40% faster than the original strain, the ISS said.

Italy’s vaccine programme has made slow progress so far, although the government last week announced a plan to speed up vaccinations significantly between March and June.

You can follow all of The Local’s latest updates on the coronavirus situation in Italy here.

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HEALTH

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.

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