This article was last updated on January 21st.
The regions of Abruzzo, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piedmont and Sicily will be classed as medium-high risk Covid 'orange' zones from Monday January 24th under Italy’s four-tiered system of Covid restrictions, according to an ordinance signed by Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Friday.
They will join the northern Italian region of Valle d'Aosta, which became the first and only part of the country to turn 'orange' on Monday January 17th.
READ ALSO: Four more Italian regions to enter ‘orange’ zone restrictions from Monday
Meanwhile Puglia and Sardinia, two of the five Italian regions that had until now had remained in the least-restricted ‘white’ zone, will be under ‘yellow’ zone restrictions from Monday.
Under the current system, ‘white’ zones are classed as the lowest risk and ‘yellow’, ‘orange’ and ‘red’ zone classifications are given to regions as the health situation worsens.
Only three regions – Umbria, Basilicata and Molise – remain in the least restricted ‘white’ zone from Monday, with the remainder of the country in the ‘yellow’ zone.
The map below shows Italy's colour zones, effective from Monday, January 21st.
Under rules put in place by Italy’s government last July, a region’s risk status should be based on whether it simultaneously exceeds three thresholds relating to Covid incident rates, Iintensive care Covid patient occupancy rates and general hospital ward Covid patient occupancy rates – with increasingly higher thresholds in place for each risk category.
A region can be declared an 'orange' zone if it records a Covid incidence rate of 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, combined with 20 percent ICU and 30 percent general ward Covid patient occupancy.
Italy’s health ministry examines the latest health data each week and decides which classification should be applied to a region or autonomous province from the following Monday.
The government has discretionary powers to move a region into a new zone even if the thresholds aren’t exceeded. Likewise, an area could remain in a lower restricted zone when they have - the figures serve only as a guide for authorities.
EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s Covid ‘orange’ zones?
Italy’s tiered system of localised Covid restrictions was first introduced in November 2020, and was initially used to place tighter limitations on movement in areas where the risk of contagion and pressure on hospitals was deemed dangerously high.
The Italian government is now looking at making changes to the system, as its usefulness has been called into question amid increasing reliance on the use of vaccine passes in Italy and rule changes which mean restrictions in white and yellow zones are now the same, while rules only change in an orange zone for people who are unvaccinated
If a region becomes an orange zone, 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.
As of January 10th, the vaccine pass is required nationwide to access all public transport and most leisure venues, including hotels and restaurants.
Note that local authorities in Italy can also 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).
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