Italy records highest number of Covid cases in over a year

Italy has hit its highest number of Covid infections in 13 months.
Italy has hit its highest number of Covid infections in 13 months. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
Italian authorities registered a spike of more than 30,000 Covid cases on Tuesday, pushed up by soaring infections among children according to the latest health data.

The fourth wave continues to rise in Italy, with 30,798 positive Covid tests detected on Tuesday according to the latest data from the health ministry.

Italy hasn’t seen an excess of 30,000 registered cases in one day for 13 months – since November 2020 – while Tuesday’s figures mark a sharp rise in cases even from the day before, when health officials recorded 16,213 cases.

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One cause for the surge in cases is the rising number of infections among children – those with the highest weekly incidence rates per 100,000 inhabitants are the paediatric age group, according to the latest data from Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS).

That covers the ages of 0-19 years, but higher case numbers have been recorded in primary school age children specifically – those aged between 0-9 years.

In response, the ISS has again urged people to get vaccinated, those aged five to 11 years old included, who have been eligible to get a dose since last week.

“Increased vaccination coverage, in all age groups, including five-11 years, completion of vaccination cycles and maintenance of a high level of vaccination coverage are essential,” reads the latest report.

Italy has made immunisation against Covid obligatory for some groups and extended its mandatory vaccine requirement to teachers, police and rescue workers last week.

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The government is considering expanding compulsory vaccination to even more categories, as not only are cases rising but also the death count is too – 153 Covid-related deaths were recorded on Tuesday compared to 137 on Monday.

Asked how the government plans to handle the current wave, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: “The arrival of the winter season and the spread of the Omicron variant oblige us to be very cautious in managing the coming months,” reported news agency Ansa.

This is “the highest figure so far in this fourth wave”, reported Rai news.

The last time there was a higher number of deaths was on May 27th this year, when there were 171.

Pressure on hospitals continues, as the number of hospitalisations related to Covid patients has also increased again. Admissions to intensive care units rose by 25 to 96, and have exceeded the 1,000 mark – there are 1,012 people in intensive care, a figure not seen since the end of May.

Ordinary hospitalisations increased by 280, bringing the total to 8,381 general Covid admissions.

The higher figures also relate to a boom in the number of tests – 851,865 were carried out on Tuesday, marking an increase of 514,000 more than Monday. With that, the positivity rate dropped from 4.8 percent to 3.6 percent.

Some 135,931 people in Italy have died from Covid since the pandemic began, with a total of 5,436,143 cases recorded.