Italy COVID-19 Numbers Rise While Preparing for an Easter Lockdown


Madison Yee, Staff Writer

An unexpected surge of coronavirus cases in Italy has led to yet another lockdown before Easter. A previous decrease in cases saw loosened restrictions, but new variants have brought the numbers up again rapidly.

In the past week, there has already been an almost 15% increase in coronavirus infections, with the highest record since November seen on Mar. 11 and Mar. 12. Due to this, more deaths, cases, and hospitalizations have taken a major toll on the country. 

For half of Italy’s regions, including Rome, Milan, and Venice, the new restrictions will begin on Mar. 15, to be effective through Apr. 6. This is all based on a decree passed by the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet. 

With a color-coded four tier labelled system, regions will be sectioned according to the level of contagion—which could change weekly. Case reports that consist of more than 250 cases per 100,000 people in a region will result in an automatic lockdown. 

Residents in “red zone” regions will be obliged to isolate in their homes aside from work or health-related reasons, with non-essential shops closed. In the “orange zones,” people will be banned from leaving their town and region besides for the same work, health, or emergency reasons. Bars and restaurants will additionally be forced to only have delivery and take-away services. As of right now, it has been reported that the whole country will soon turn into a red zone from Apr. 3 to 5. 

Aside from that, a main conflict has been the R rate which is at 1.6 because of the coronavirus variants. The health ministry has noted its concern for the United Kingdom variant known as the B.1.1.7 and small clusters of the Brazilian variant which have made the transmission of the virus more contagious and deadly. 

“I hope that this will be the last sacrifice asked of our citizens,” said Lombardy President Attilio Fontana.

In response to the lockdown, Italy has also been working on getting more vaccinations. However, a batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently banned after many suspicious side effects surfaced alongside a serviceman in Sicily who died of cardiac arrest following his first dose. While focusing on the recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Italy’s COVID-19 commissioner Paolo Figiuolo said, “By this summer, all Italian adults will be vaccinated.”


Photo courtesy of BBC.COM