Italy's daily COVID-19 infections pass 200000 for the first time

08 Jan 2022 10:14am
Photo source : Xinhua
Photo source : Xinhua

Rome, ITALY - Italy recorded 219,441 new cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, surpassing the 200,000 mark for the first time.

The country had never recorded more than 100,000 new cases in a single day until Dec. 30. But the situation had gotten worse almost every day since then.

The Ministry of Health also announced 198 coronavirus deaths over the previous 24 hours, down from 231 a day earlier.

Though the death toll from the latest wave of the pandemic is on the rise, it remains well below the all-time one-day peaks that regularly topped 750 in late March and early April of 2020, during the pandemic's initial wave, and again between late November to mid-December 2020.

The number of patients in intensive care units in Italy continued to inch higher, reaching 1,467 on Thursday, an increase of 39 over the previous day.

But even so, the number of intensive-care-unit patients remained below all-time highs from 2020. Health care officials attributed it to less severe outcomes for vaccinated people infected by the virus and improved methods of treatment.

"What we are facing in late 2021 and in 2022 cannot compare to what the country went through in 2020," Giovanni Maga, head of the DNA Enzymology and Molecular Virology Section Institute of Molecular Genetics IGM-CNR National Research Council, told Xinhua.

The total number of cases recorded in Italy since the start of the pandemic was just short of 7 million. Within the European Union, only Germany and France recorded more cases.

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Italy on Wednesday issued new rules requiring all residents over the age of 50 to get vaccinated.

"We want to put the brakes on the growth of the spread of contagion and push Italians who are still not vaccinated to do so," said Prime Minister Mario Draghi in a statement sent to reporters.

As of Thursday, 46.5 million Italian residents had been completely vaccinated, equivalent to 86.2 percent of the country's population over the age of 12.

The European Center for Disease Control has declared 19 of Italy's 20 regions and autonomous provinces as "dark red" areas in terms of coronavirus infection rates, the most severe level.

The only exception is the island region of Sardinia, which is "light red," the second most severe level in the four-color system. - Xinhua News