By The Abode Team
As Italian scientific experts warn that coronavirus cases are on the rise again, here's a closer look at which parts of the country are worst affected. The rise is in large part due to the more infectious British variant, a top virologist warned on Sunday. "Obviously, I'm worried," Massimo Galli, a specialist based at the Sacco de Milan hospital, told Il Messaggero. "The resurgence in infections is due in large part to the English variant,” he added. "To be honest, all the data is going in the direction of a rise in new cases.” A new study by Italy's National Research Council (CNR) points to variants as the likely source of up to 50 percent of the recent increase in cases.
Corrado Spinella, director of the CNR's Department of Physical Sciences, told La Repubblica on Monday: "in the regions which have seen the most rapid increase in cases, such as Abruzzo, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria as well as in the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, the variants of Sars-Cov-2 may be responsible for between 40 and 50 percent of the total of positives," "This trend is increasing," he warned, adding that: "Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy are starting to show an increase in hospitalized cases due to the presence of the more transmissible variants." Unless further containment measures are announced soon, Spinella said, "in regions where the variant is found to account for at least 50 percent of cases, the more contagious variant will almost completely replace the 'standard' version within a month and a half from today." Analysis of offical data on Monday showed that the regions and autonomous provinces which recorded the sharpest rise in cases over the past 24 hours were Bolzano, Trento, and Abruzzo. Sardinia and Valle D'Aosta have the lowest rate of new infections.
On Monday Italy's government extended the ban on travel between regions in Italy amid concern about the spread of new variants whilst on Sunday the Italian health ministry reclassified three more regions from moderate-risk "yellow" to the higher-risk "orange" status. That has brought the number of total regions classified as "orange" to nine out of a total 20, the rest being "yellow". The change in status to "orange" means drastic restrictions on travel outside resident's district and the closure of bars and restaurants. Rising concerns about the spread of these new virus strains have prompted a national debate about the need for more extensive containment measures.
Several leading Italian health experts have said a total lockdown is 'urgently' needed, while the government's own panel of scientific advisors this week also recommended stricter measures.Newly-installed Prime Minister Mario Draghi pledged this week to use "all means" to fight the pandemic, however his government has not yet given any details of its planned coronavirus strategy.
As of Sunday, Italy has registered 95,718 coronavirus deaths from 2.9 million cases.