>>>ANSA/Govt task force considers tougher COVID restrictions

(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 10 – The government’s ‘cabina di regia’
COVID-19 task force met on Wednesday to assess possible new
restrictions amid a rise in contagion in Italy.
    The task force, which features officials from the health
ministry, the Higher Health Institute (ISS) and the regional
governments, looked at proposed tighter restrictions from the
CTS panel of experts advising the government on its response to
the pandemic.
    The CTS has proposed closing down all non-essential shops and
activities at weekends, along the lines of the restrictions
imposed during the Christmas holidays, given the rise in
contagion
The idea is to further prevent contact between people to combat
infection, even in moderate-coronavirus risk yellow zones.
    The panel also proposed tougher measures in high-contagion risk
red zones like those adopted a year ago in the northern town of
Codogno, which was sealed off after becoming one of the nation’s
first coronavirus hotspots.
    ISTAT said Wednesday that life expectancy in Italy fell by
almost a year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its
health and economic consequences.
    The national statistics agency said life expectancy at birth was
82.3 years in 2020, down from 83.2 in 2019.
    “COVID completely wiped out the life-expectancy gains made in a
decade in the north and partially wiped them out in other parts
of the country,” said ISTAT’s BES report on the nation’s well
being and its level of equality and sustainability.
    “This is a step backwards that will take a long time to be fully
recouped”.
    ISTAT President Gian Carlo Blangiardo said that “the indicators
have registered a particularly violent impact on some of the
areas of progress on health of the last 10 years, which were
wiped out in just one year”.
    COVID-19 intensive care cases have passed the critical threshold
of 30% of overall cases, the National Agency for Regional Health
Services (AGENAS) said in a report updated to March 9.
    At a national level, ICU cases are now 31%, it said. This level
makes it difficult to treat other patients.
    The percentage was 6% up on March 1 when it was 25%. The 30%
threshold has been passed in 11 regions: Abruzzo (41%), Emilia
Romagna (40%), Friuli Venezia Giulia (34%), Lombardy (43%),
Marche (44%), Molise (67%), Autonomous Province of Bolzano
(39%), Autonomous Province of Trento (54%), Piedmont (36%),
Tuscany (36%), and Umbria (57%). The percentage of COVID
patients in other wards was 35%, up 5% on March 1.
    However, that is below the critical threshold which in this case
is set at 40%.
    Seven regions are above this threshold: Abruzzo (45%), Emilia
Romagna (47%), Lombardy (46%), Marche (54%), Molise (45%),
Piedmont (42%) and Umbria (51%).
    There have been 22,409 new COVID-19 cases, and 332 more victims
of the virus, in Italy in the last 24 hours, the health ministry
said Wednesday.
    On Tuesday there were 19,749 new cases and 376 more victims.
    Some 361,040 fresh tests have been carried out in the last 24
hours, up from 345,336 Tuesday. The positivity rate has risen by
0.5%, from 5.7% to 6.2%.
    ICU cases have risen by 253 and hospital admissions by 489.
    The death toll is now 100,811. The case tally is 3,123,368.
    The currently positive are 487,074 (+8,191 up over Tuesday), the
recovered and discharged 2,535,483 (+13,752), and those
isolating at home 461,365 (+7,631 ). (ANSA).
   

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