For members


MAP: The Italian regions becoming Covid ‘orange’ zones in January

Some of Italy's regions are showing worsening health data, pushing them closer to a higher-risk 'orange' zone. Here are the areas that could soon face tighter anti-Covid measures.

The regions showing health data approaching 'orange' zone status.
The regions showing health data approaching 'orange' zone status. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

As Italy’s infection rates continue to soar and pressure on hospitals increases week-on-week, some regions face becoming a moderate-risk ‘orange’ zone.

There are currently over 2 million positive cases in Italy, while numbers continue to grow with over 100,000 new infections recorded on Monday.

As most of Italy’s regions and autonomous provinces have now lost their lowest-risk ‘white’ zone classification, with 15 now classed as ‘yellow’ zones, some are on the brink of tighter restrictions again and risk turning ‘orange’.

READ ALSO: What changes about life in Italy in January 2022

Four regions looked close to the mark last week, but their health data hadn’t worsened significantly enough by Friday, when Italy’s health ministry reviews the latest figures and decides which restrictions should be applied to each area from the following Monday.

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

As of January 10th, no regions are in the ‘orange’ or ‘red’ zone.

To move into an ‘orange’ zone, a region or autonomous province must record a Covid incidence rate of 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, combined with 20 percent ICU and 30 percent general ward Covid patient occupancy.

There can be some flexibility on these parameters, however, as the government has discretionary powers to place an area into a higher restriction tier even if the thresholds aren’t exceeded. Likewise, a region could keep its lower tier status when they have, but it provides an overall guide of how an area is faring.

Here’s a map of the regions that could become ‘orange’ over the coming weeks. The ‘yellow’ and ‘white’ zones are current and show regions less likely to move into the higher restricted category.

Looking at the latest (January 12thfigures from Agenas, Italy’s National Agency for Health Services, the northern region of Piedmont almost looks certain to lose its ‘yellow’ zone status, with 24 percent ICU occupancy and 33 percent recorded for general admissions.

Calabria has already met the threshold with 20 percent ICU admissions and 38 percent for ordinary Covid patients.

The numbers are constantly growing in Sicily and this region could also face tighter health measures from as soon as next Monday. As things stand on Wednesday, its ICU occupancy is 20 percent, while general admissions are 32 percent. Its incidence rate is 435.15.

Liguria, meanwhile, has met the threshold of 20 percent ICU occupancy and has stabilised at this figure for a few days. It has exceeded the quota for general Covid admissions at 38 percent.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia could also become an ‘orange’ zone this month, with its current 23 percent ICU occupancy already exceeding this threshold and 28 percent ordinary admissions approaching it.

Meanwhile, Marche is nudging further towards the parameters for an ‘orange’ zone, with 22 percent ICU occupancy and 25 percent ordinary hospital admissions.

The autonomous province of Trento is experiencing high ICU occupancy at 30 percent currently, meaning it could become ‘orange’ in the next few weeks. Its general Covid patients are still under at 21 percent though.

Valle d’Aosta still has some room before it hits the ICU threshold with 18 percent occupancy, but its general admissions have far exceeded the parameters at 46 percent.

EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s Covid ‘orange’ zones?

Should these regions become ‘orange’ zones, little will change for vaccinated people, as most venues and activities will remain open and accessible to those with Italy’s ‘super green pass’ health certificate that shows the bearer is vaccinated against or recovered from Covid.

From January 10th, the ‘super green pass’ is required to access all public transport and most leisure venues across the country including in ‘white’ zones, effectively meaning a nationwide lockdown for those who are unvaccinated (or aren’t recovered from Covid).

Those who have a ‘basic green pass’, obtained via a negative test result, will no longer be allowed to attend concerts and events that involve gatherings, will be banned from indoor restaurants and bars, places where cultural events take place, as well as parties and occasions that involve gatherings.

Local authorities can decide to impose stricter rules at short notice. Always check the latest restrictions in your province or town: find out how here.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. Hi
    If a region enters an orange zone will restaurants become take-away only and regional travel banned?

    1. Buongiorno,

      In orange zones – bars and restaurants require customers to show a ‘super green pass’ to eat at the counter and to sit both indoors and outdoors. This rule applies throughout Italy. In ‘orange’ zones, the super green pass will be compulsory for food service, both indoors and outdoors and for those staying in hotels. You can find more rules about ‘orange’ zones here:

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For members


Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.