NewsWorldItaly extends red zones amid record high COVID-19 cases

Italy extends red zones amid record high COVID-19 cases

Italy listed two cities and towns in Rome as red zones for COVID-19 on Saturday as the infection rate remains high and virus variants run rampant in the country, the health ministry announced.

The country registered 14,931 new infections within the past 24 hours, raising the total caseload to over 2.79 million. The number of new victims has risen by 251 to a total of 95,486 as of Saturday, according to a tally by the health ministry.

In the central region of Lazio, where the Italian capital is located, a decree was signed that listed two of the cities and towns in Rome as red zones where the strictest control measures will be implemented in the following two weeks, according to the ministry.

In high-risk red zones, all restaurants and bars are closed except for takeaways and home deliveries, and all non-essential shops are closed as well, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a decree last November enforcing a three-tier system in Italy, classifying regions into colored zones according to how critical the Rt (rate of transmission) index was. Since then, Italy has been divided into three zones: yellow (safer), orange (medium risk) and red (high risk).

Meanwhile, the Italian National Institute of Health reported that 85 percent of the confirmed cases have been found mainly in half of the 20 regions since the outbreak.

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