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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. 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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Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.