Italy announced on Saturday that it was tightening restrictions in five of the country’s 20 regions in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the most communicable coronavirus variants, according to Reuters.
The state of the game: For the first time since the end of January, two regions, Basilicata and Molise, have been placed in the country’s red zone, the strictest level of Italy’s color code system.
- All nonessential bars, restaurants, and businesses must close and movement will be severely limited.
- The levels (white, yellow, orange, and red) are based on infection levels and other factors.
- In Lombardy, Marche and Piedmont, which moved from the yellow zone to the orange zone, restaurants and bars must close except for take out. Residents are also not allowed to leave their cities except for emergencies or for health or work reasons.
- Yes, but: The island of Sardinia became the first region to move into the minimally restrictive white zone, according to Reuters.
What they are saying: “Many outbreaks are due to (new) variants. I am concerned about the progress of the epidemic, “said Gianni Rezza, senior adviser to the Ministry of Health, according to Reuters.
- “We must keep our guard up and we must intervene quickly and energetically where necessary,” Rezza added.
The panorama: Earlier this week, the country extended the ban on non-essential travel between regions until at least March 27, according to Reuters.
- Italy started its inoculation campaign last year and has so far administered more than 4.2 million doses of the vaccine. More than 1.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
- According to data from the Ministry of Health, the country registered 20,499 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, up from 19,886 the day before.
- In Italy, more than 2.9 million cases and 97,500 deaths have been reported since the pandemic began.