Covid-19: All of Italy’s regions now ‘low risk’, health ministry says

All regions and autonomous provinces will be in the lower-risk 'yellow' zone from Monday, the health minister said, as Italy's coronavirus situation continues to improve.

Covid-19: All of Italy's regions now 'low risk', health ministry says
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

All indicators show that Italy’s health data has continued to improve, according to the latest weekly health monitoring report released by the health ministry and Higher Health Institute (ISS) on Friday.

Italy’s national average Rt reproduction number and the incidence rate have both fallen again, the figures showed.

READ ALSO: Indoor dining and later curfew: Italy’s new timetable for easing Covid-19 restrictions

“With today’s monitoring report and consequent ordinances, all of Italy will be in the yellow zone,” from Monday, Minister of Health Roberto Speranza wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

This means Valle d’Aosta, the one region still under orange zone restrictions, will be allowed to join the rest of the country in easing many rules from next week.

Meanwhile, six Italian regions will be low-restriction ‘white’ zones from early June.

The data analysed in the latest health report is from the week starting April 26th – when many restrictions were first dropped in some regions.

The Italian government has said it would wait for this week’s report to see if this initial easing of measures had affected the numbers, before it finalises some of the details for easing remaining estrictions in the coming weeks and months after the prime minister’s office confirmed on Monday that some reopenings would be pushed forward.

MAP: Which parts of Italy will be Covid-19 ‘white zones’ in June?

Friday’s report said the incidence had fallen to 66 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 96 last week.

The Rt number, or reproduction rate, has also continued to fall, dropping to 0.78 from 0.86 last week.

It said all of Italy’s regions and autonomous provinces can now be considered low risk, with Rt numbers below 1.

An Rt above 1 shows that the pandemic is in a phase of expansion.

In the latest figures, no region or autonomous province exceeds the critical intensive care occupancy threshold of 30%. The nationwide average is now 19%.

Speranza said the falling numbers were “the result of the measures adopted so far, the correct behavior of the vast majority of people, and the vaccination campaign.”

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WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.