Roundup: Italy's COVID-19 reproduction number, hospitalizations on rise

ROME, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The coronavirus reproduction number (RT) was on the rise in Italy, along with the bed occupancy rate in both normal wards and emergency units, according to data released on Friday.

The assessment came with the latest monitoring survey carried out by the country's National Health Institute (ISS) in the first half of June.

Their report showed the average RT grew to 1.07 between June 1 and June 14, above the pandemic threshold (RT 1), and up from 0.83 registered in the previous monitoring report related to the period from May 25 to June 7.

This was the first time the RT exceeded the value of 1 in over two and a half months, according to the institute.

The RT at 1 or above is an indication that the virus is spreading, meaning that one infectious individual would averagely transmit the infection to more than one other person.

The average bed occupancy registered on June 23 was 2.2 percent in intensive care units and 7.9 percent in normal COVID-19 wards, against 1.9 percent and 6.7 percent on June 16, respectively.

These occupancy rates were still "well below the critical threshold," Health Ministry Prevention Director Gianni Rezza said in a video message on Friday, and were not expected to put the public health system under pressure in the short term.

The ISS report also showed the incidence rose to 504 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the period between June 17 and June 23 against 310 per 100,000 inhabitants registered in the previous week.

Some 12 Italian regions were classified as being "at moderate risk" (of pandemic growth) and another nine "at high risk."

Despite the growing statistics, Italy's health officials have no plan to introduce new restrictions, which are currently at the lowest level.

As of Friday, the Health Ministry registered 55,829 new coronavirus over the last 24 hours, and 51 new victims; that compared to 56,166 new cases and 75 fatalities on Thursday.

Some 90.1 percent of Italy's population over the age of 12 have completed their vaccination cycle.

Yet, the health ministry warned people to respect anti-COVID rules currently in place, and pay attention to large gatherings.

"We reiterate the need to comply with the individual and collective behavior measures provided, (such as) the use of masks, the aeration of premises, and hand hygiene..." it said.

"A high vaccination coverage, completing vaccine cycles and maintaining a high immune response through the booster ... are necessary tools to mitigate the clinical impact of the epidemic," it noted.

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