Italy’s Covid infections almost double in a week as vaccine rate falls

A passenger is tested for coronavirus upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino International airport.
While more coronavirus tests have been carried out in Italy recently, the positivity rate is also rising. Photo: ANSA/AFP)
Italy saw a sharp rise in the infection rate and another drop in the number of first vaccinations over the past week, according to new data released on Thursday.

The number of new coronavirus infections registered in Italy in the week of October 20-26th was 25,585, an increase of 43.2 percent with respect to the 17,870 the previous week, according to analysis of official data by the Gimbe health foundation.

The foundation’s report said that part of the rise may be explained by more cases being uncovered as the number of tests carried out rose sharply in the past two weeks, following the introduction of a health certificate or ‘green pass’ requirement in all workplaces from October 15th.

Green passes are available to everyone who is vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19, but can also be obtained by getting a negative test, at the person’s own expense.

READ ALSO: Italy ‘rediscovering normality’ thanks to high Covid vaccination rate, official says

A rising test positivity rate plus a 7.5% increase in hospital admissions for Covid patients however indicated that contagion overall was on the up, the report said.

Health ministry data also showed that the national incidence rate reached 46 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (in the week of 22-28 October) compared to 34 the previous week.

Meanwhile, the number of vaccinations carried out in Italy fell again in the same one-week period, Gimbe’s report noted.

The number of first jabs administered was just over 152,000, a drop of 53 percent week-on-week. This may also be connected to a slight rise ahead of the green pass extension, after a steady decline in the vaccination rate over previous weeks and months.

Around nine in ten green passes issued between October 14-20th were based on a negative test result, rather than vaccination.

READ ALSO: Which Italian regions have the highest Covid vaccination rates?

Over 86 percent of the Italian population over 12 have now had at least one vaccine dose, according to health ministry figures. 82 percent are fully vaccinated so far, with the government now aiming for 90 percent coverage.

Some 11 million vaccine doses are currently sitting unused in fridges in Italy, the report said.


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