For members


MAP: Where in Italy are coronavirus cases falling fastest?

The number of new coronavirus cases being detected in Italy continues to decline overall, but the situation varies considerably across the country.

MAP: Where in Italy are coronavirus cases falling fastest?
Restaurants are now open, for outdoor service only, in areas with lower case numbers. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/DataWrapper

As the Italian government announced its plan for gradual reopening at the end of April, health experts and doctors’ unions warned that it would not be safe to reopen until certain criteria were met.

These included having a seven-day average incidence rate of 50 cases per 100,000 – a rate which experts say is low enough to allow effective testing and tracing.

The most recent weekly health data report, compiled by Italian health ministry and the Higher Health Institute (ISS), showed another decrease in the weekly incidence rate: down to 146 per 100,000 inhabitants in the week ending April 25th from 157 per 100,000 for the week ending April 18th.

“Although the vaccination campaign is progressing faster and faster, overall, the incidence remains high and is still far from the level (50 per 100,000) that would allow the containment of new cases,” stated the report.

This figure is a national average, and the situation varies considerably around the country – as do the current restrictions in place, which can change depending on the weekly health data in each Italian region.

But no region is yet below the 50 in 100,000 threshold.

The figure is currently highest in Valle d’Aosta (204 per 100,000) and Campania (191), and lowest in Molise (64) and Sardinia (68).

Six regions currently remain under tighter coronavirus restrictions, in part due to the higher infection rates locally.

However most regions are now designated lower-risk ‘yellow’ zones, where many restrictions on business openings and movement have been relaxed.

It won’t be known what impact these initial reopenings have had on the infection rate until data becomes available in mid-May, when further relaxations to the rules are planned.

READ ALSO: Schools, restaurants, gyms, travel: Here’s Italy’s new timetable for reopening

It’s expected that the number of new infections will start to drop faster as Italy’s vaccination campaign progresses.

However, Italian authorities don’t expect to have the majority of people in the country vaccinated until autumn, and say that continued health measures are the only way to get numbers down in the meantime.

Even those who have received the first dose of the vaccine must “continue to be cautious”, said ISS president Silvio Brusaferro at a press conference on Friday.

“First of all because it takes two to three weeks before a first immune response forms, which is complete after the second dose. Masks and distancing will still be needed until a large part of the population is vaccinated, because even those who are immunized cannot exclude the risk of infecting those who are not.”

Around 25 percent of Italy’s population has had one dose of the vaccine so far, while just over ten percent is fully vaccinated, official figures show.

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For members


Which are Italy’s best hospitals and where are they?

Italy’s healthcare system is said to be among the best in the world, but stark regional differences persist. Here’s where you’ll find the country’s most highly-rated hospitals.

Which are Italy’s best hospitals and where are they?

The average standard of healthcare in Italy is fairly high: the country has been ranked among the nations with the best healthcare systems in the world in surveys published by the World Health Organisation, Bloomberg and Statista.

But not all of Italy’s hospitals – or regional healthcare systems – are rated equally. A new World’s Best Hospitals ranking from Newsweek and global data firm Statista has revealed which of Italy’s hospitals are seen as the best.

The study ranked Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli as the best hospital in the country for the third year in a row, followed by Ospedale Niguarda and Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan.

The top five was completed by Policlinico Sant’Orsola in Bologna and the Istituto Humanitas in Rozzano, just south of Milan.

Spots from six to ten are occupied by: Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, Azienda Ospedaliera in Padua, Ospedale Borgo Trento in Verona, Ospedale Papa Giovanni II in Bergamo and Turin’s Presidio Ospedaliero Molinette.

READ ALSO: Five essential facts about Italy’s public healthcare system

But aside from Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli, no hospital from the centre or south of the country figured in the top ten, with the first ‘non-northern’ hospital – Florence’s Ospedale Careggi – ranking 13th.

In fact, only three southern hospitals made it into the nation’s top 50, with the first one – Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in San Giovanni Rotondo, Puglia – coming in 33rd.

These results seem to once again confirm the stark imbalances in the quality of medical services offered across the country, with central and southern regions continuing to perform poorly compared to their northern counterparts. 

You can read more about the issue and its causes HERE

Shifting from a national outlook to an international one, Italian hospitals didn’t fare quite as well as could be hoped.

The top five Italian hospitals all figured among the best 100 hospitals in the world, though only Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli made it into the top 50 (it came in 38th, to be exact).

However, Italy still had a total of 13 hospitals included in the world’s top 250 list, which made it the third most-represented European country in the ranking after Germany (25) and France (16).

Statista assessed the performance of over 2,300 hospitals around the world, basing its ranking upon a combination of the following four data sources: the opinion of over 80,000 healthcare professionals, patient experience surveys following hospitalisation, publicly available hospital quality metrics, and patient perception questionnaires.