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COVID-19 RULES

MAP: The Italian regions becoming ‘yellow’ zones in December

With Italy enforcing stricter Covid rules as the country’s infection rate climbs, more regions are turning into a more restricted 'yellow' zone. Here are the areas becoming - or likely to be - yellow in December.

More regions in Italy are turning into 'yellow' zones.
More regions in Italy are turning into 'yellow' zones. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

In a race to avert Christmas lockdowns as the fourth wave of Covid-19 spreads throughout Europe, the Italian governmnt has placed many parts of the country under a higher risk category.

Friuli Venezia Giulia, Calabria and the autonomous province of Bolzano have already been placed in the moderate-risk ‘yellow’ zone after exceeding all of the Italian government’s criteria for tougher anti-Covid measures, and four more regions are now set to follow from Monday December 20th: 

As infections continue to rise across Italy and concern grows over the possible impact of the new Omicron variant, more regions are likely to change colour in the coming weeks under Italy’s four-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions

Under this system, ‘white’ zone areas are under the most relaxed rules, and ‘yellow’, ‘orange’ and ‘red’ zones under increasingly strict measures.

This map shows the total of seven regions and autonomous provinces in the ‘yellow’ zone from Monday.

Let’s take a look at the statistics behind the changes.

Under a law introduced by Italy’s government in July, any region above the threshold of 10 percent ICU and 15 percent general ward Covid patient occupancy and with a new weekly incident rate of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants should automatically be placed in the yellow zone.

The three zones already in the yellow zone have exceeded this threshold and from Monday, Veneto, Marche, Liguria and the Province of Trento are set to join them, according to the latest data provided by Agenas, Italy’s National Agency for Health Services.

READ ALSO: What are Italy’s new rules for Covid ‘yellow’ zones?

Veneto has now superseded these parameters with 15 percent intensive care occupancy and 16 percent general admissions. Its incident rate has way exceeded the threshold, at 441.82 cases per 100,000 cases for last week.

Marche stands at 14 percent for ICU occupancy and 16 percent for ordinary hospital admissions, with an incident rate of 200.48.

Meanwhile, Liguria has registered 14 percent intensive care occupancy and 18 percent general Covid occupancy with an incident rate of 231.88, while the autonomous province of Trento stands at 21 percent for ICU versus 18 percent for general admissions with an incident rate of 255.17.

But further regions could also join this map in December.

Based on the health data, the map below shows the other regions projected to turn into a ‘yellow’ zone this month, as they are now approaching the parameters named above.

South Tyrol

Bolzano is already a ‘yellow’ zone and the region’s other autonomous province is set to follow from Monday.

The region’s previous ordinance that had placed 36 municipalities in localised ‘red’ zones due to particularly high incidence of infection and below-average vaccination rates wasn’t extended after it expired on December 5th.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Italy considers bringing back outdoor mask requirement

With that, the obligation to wear masks outdoors has been dropped and restaurants no longer need to stick to a maximum of four people at one table or the 6pm closing time.

Valle d’Aosta

Valle d’Aosta’s general admissions have declined over recent weeks to 18 percent, but this is still above the threshold for this criterion. However, the region is at 6 percent for intensive care occupancy, which even though it has increased, is still lower than the 10 percent threshold.

The incident rate has already way exceeded the limit however, at 310.75.

Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Umbria

This region has met the threshold for ICU occupancy at 10 percent, but is still behind in the occupation of ordinary wards, which is recorded at 7 percent. The incident rate, like in most regions, has passed the threshold and is recorded at 120.92.

Lazio

Lazio is beginning to approach the parameters of a ‘yellow’ zone with its 12 percent of intensive care occupancy, already in excess for this paramater, and 13 percent for ordinary hospitalisations. Their incident rate has reached 192.12.

Lombardy

Lombardy has narrowly avoided meeting the criteria for a ‘yellow’ zone this week, with its 10 percent ICU occupancy and 14 percent for general admissions. Its incident rate now stands at 194.87.

That means its margin of 1 percent for ordinary Covid patients has saved the region from tighter restrictions.

However, with numbers so close to the threshold, it’s possible that the region will meet the parameters by Christmas.

Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Emilia Romagna

This region has already passed the threshold for ICU occupancy at 12 percent, but its general admissions are still under the limit at 11 percent.

The incident rate is also way above the threshold of 50 and currently stands at 251.04.

If intensive care occupancy continues to rise, the region could turn into a ‘yellow’ zone before the end of the year.

Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

The rules in ‘yellow’ zones

Should these regions join Friuli Venezia Giulia, Calabria and Bolzano in becoming a yellow zone, people will be required to wear a mask both outdoors and in indoor public spaces, and restaurants can seat a maximum of four diners to a table.

While those in a yellow zone will still be required to mask up outdoors, under the new rules, people who hold the ‘super green pass’ will be able to access “indoor catering”, shows (such as theatre performances), parties, nightclubs, sporting events, and “public ceremonies”, as normal.

READ ALSO: ‘Super green pass’: How is Italy enforcing the new Covid rules?

The ‘super green pass’ health certificate can be obtained only by those who are vaccinated against or have recovered from Covid-19. It came into force on December 6th and is a mandatory document to access most venues and services across the country.

It reinforces the basic ‘green pass’, which was also available to those who had recently tested negative for the virus. However, the basic green pass will still be valid for use on public transport and to access workplaces.

Could any region move into an orange zone in December?

So far, the data points towards no regions as a whole moving into the higher risk orange zone, requiring even tighter measures in place.

To move from a yellow to an orange zone, a region must record a weekly incidence of infection rate of 150 or more per 100,000 inhabitants and to have simultaneously exceeded the occupancy limits for general and intensive care beds in the yellow zone. That means over 20 percent occupancy for ICU beds and 30 percent for general hospital admissions.

Friuli Venezia Giulia is currently recording the highest Covid figures in the country based on these three parameters, but isn’t getting close to the ‘orange’ zone criteria – with 18 percent ICU occupancy, 23 percent for general admissions and an infection rate of 357.04.

Should any region experience a spike in these criteria and meet all the thresholds for an ‘orange’ zone, the area’s residents would face tougher restrictions, mainly affecting travel.

In an orange zone, you can only move freely within your own municipality apart from reasons of work, health or necessity. An exception to this is if the town has fewer than 5,000 inhabitants – but you still couldn’t go to the provincial capital.

Member comments

  1. The knee jerk reactions in this country to case data is shocking. How a country with such high vaccination uptake can reinstate restrictions, DAD schooling is unforgivable. Funny how the media don’t spend 5 minutes comparing Italy’s approach with that of the UK or Scandanavia? I’m constantly surprised how willingly Italians eat up the panic and give up their freedom, too many people get their news from TV alone and it shows.

  2. Hi Mike,
    As an American with pulmonary issues, I much prefer Italy’s cautionary approach rather than USA/UK anything goes approach to COVID restrictions. Do what we gotta do to avoid the worst.

  3. Adjusting for population, it looks as if death rate in UK is about 50% higher that in Italy. I’m in favour of taking sensible precautions.

  4. As an American who needs to travel back and forth to California from Italy regularly, I am grateful for the caution of Italian authorities.

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COVID-19 RULES

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.

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