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HEALTH

Six more Italian regions move to the ‘white zone’ as coronavirus numbers remain low

Another six of Italy's regions and autonomous provinces are allowed to drop most remaining health measures from Monday, after the latest data showed infection rates remain low nationwide.

Six more Italian regions move to the 'white zone' as coronavirus numbers remain low
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The regions of Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Lazio, Piedmont and Puglia, and the autonomous province of Trento, have had their risk level downgraded to ‘white’ zone status as of Monday June 14th.

The health minister signed an ordinance confirming the changes on Friday evening.

Regions given the lowest-risk ‘white’ classifcation can drop most of the restrictions which remain in place in yellow zones, including the nighttime curfew.

EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s coronavirus ‘white zones’?

“The vaccination campaign is progressing fast, and the incidence rate is at a level that allows the containment of new cases. More regions will move into the white zone”, announced Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Friday, after the latest weekly coronavirus monitoring report from the health ministry and the Higher Health Institute (ISS) confirmed Italy’s coronavirus numbers remained low agan this week.

The report, based on data from June 4-10, said Italy’s 7-day incidence rate had fallen again to 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The national average Rt reproduction number, which shows the rate of new infectons, remained at 0.68.

The latest review of the regional system means a total of 12 of Italy’s 21 regions and autonomous provinces will be white zones from Monday, after Abruzzo, Liguria, Umbria and Veneto were downgraded last week.

To be placed in the the low-restriction white zone, regions must have registered fewer than 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three weeks consecutively.

The classification means regional authorities are allowed to drop most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions earlier than planned under the national roadmap for reopening.

So far, only mask-wearing and social distancing rules must remain in place in white zones, the health minister has said. House parties and large gatherngs are also forbidden.

For now, nightclubs and discos are still waiting for a firm date for reopening, and it is not known if or when Italy may relax the rules on wearing masks outdoors.

Italy’s evening curfew – which is not applicable in white zones – now starts from midnight as of June 7th, and will be scrapped completely on June 21st.

The final set of rules in each region depends on the local authority, as each is free to impose stricter rules than those set by the national government.

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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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