A report by Ministry of Health and the Higher Health Institute (ISS) report an increase in the Covid-19 Delta variant.

Widespread sequencing and tracing of cases as well as renewed efforts to complete the vaccination campaign in Italy are on-going.

The report indicates that COVID-19 Rt transmission number was steady at 0.69, but the incidence of cases dropped to 11 for every 100,000 inhabitants, down from 16.7 last week.

Authorities are monitoring Rt levels region by region. A Rt over 1 indicates the epidemic is in a phase of expansion. If verified new lockdowns and local restrictions may be implemented.

The Alpha variant , the so-called “English variant”, is now considered the most widespread in Italy with a percentage of 74.9% of the number of cases.

Cases of  the Delta variant, the so-called “Indian” and one of its subtypes, the Kappa variant which pass from 4, 2% in May to 16.8% in June (data extracted as of 21st of the month). These are the first reports of the last few weeks, monitored by the ISS Covid-19 Integrated Surveillance System.

Anna Teresa Palamara, director of the Infectious Diseases Department of the ISS said, “From our epidemiological surveillance, a rapidly evolving picture emerges which confirms that also in our country, as in the rest of Europe, the Delta variant of the virus is becoming prevalent. With the next flash survey we will have a more precise estimate of the prevalence.”

The report also highlights that the percentage of sequenced cases is increasing steadily going from 0.5% of cases diagnosed in January to 2.5% of cases diagnosed in the first half of June, according to the data available on the platform.

Bulletin data:

·        The variant of SARS-CoV-2 prevalent in Italy was found to be the alpha variant (lineage B.1.1.7) with a prevalence of 74.9% which is also the most widespread globally. Although it has a higher transmissibility than other variants widespread in Italy, there is evidence that the vaccines in use maintain their effectiveness in preventing cases of disease and infection due to this variant.

·        The gamma variant (lineage P.1) is more widespread in some Italian Regions / PPAA, with an overall prevalence of 6.5%.

·        The prevalence of other variants of SARS-CoV-2 of public health interest is <1% in our country, with the exception of the eta variant (lineage B.1.525, 1.2%).

·        Cases associated with kappa and delta variants (lineage B.1.617.1 / 2) are overall few in the January-June period, however there has been a recent rapid increase in the frequency and diffusion of these reports throughout the country due to several outbreaks. In addition, most of them belong to the delta variant.


ISS Press office

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Featured image – ISS Bulletin

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