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2 more Italian regions move to upper Covid risk level

Two more Italian regions moved to an upper pandemic risk level, as health authorities signalled the wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the Omicron variant might reach its peak soon.

Small northwest Aosta Valley turned orange, and the southern region of Campania turned yellow on the base of a specific ordinance signed by Health Minister Roberto Speranza following the results of the latest pandemic monitoring survey, reports Xinhua news agency.

This complied with the four-tiered system of red, orange, yellow, and white zones implemented in Italy since late 2020, which respectively denote a high, medium, lower-intermediate and low risk of virus transmission.

Currently, one region is in orange, 14 regions in yellow, and five in white nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Italian government said it might consider changing the way new Covid-19 cases are counted in the country, as several regional governors have lately asked.

This request would imply a key change -- excluding people who test positive for Covid-19, but are vaccinated and asymptomatic, to the daily count of new cases.

Speranza told reporters that technical talks to consider this request would be launched soon, and a working table with governors would be opened in the next two weeks.

"The situation is not easy, and the number of infected people is still high, but hospital bed occupancy is lower (than in previous pandemic waves) thanks to the high vaccination rate.

"As the World Health Organization has also noted, we are nearing the peak, after that, we will have to adjust our rules and our model to the new pandemic phase we are facing," he said.

According to the epidemiological survey unveiled by the National Health Institute, the Omicron variant has accounted for some 81 per cent of Covid-19 cases detected in Italy in early January, while the previous variant, Delta, was detected in 19 per cent of cases.

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