Italian health Ministry says Omicron not yet circulating in Italy

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The new more infectious Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is not yet circulating in Italy, outside the cluster that has been identified in Caserta north of Naples, health ministry prevention chief Giani Rezza said Friday.

“For now the Omicron variant is not circulating in Italy, apart from the cluster that has been identified, and for now the vaccine is covering the Delta variant well, which is the only one circulating,” he said.

A Caserta businessman came back from southern Africa with Omicron and some of his children and their classmates have been infected.

In the meantime, a case of an Omicron variant of Covid was also identified in Veneto.

The variant was sequenced in the genetic material of a 40-year-old from Vicenza, who currently has no particular problems.

Italy reported 74 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday against 72 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 17,030 from 16,806.

Italy has registered 134,077 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 5.08 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 5,385 on Friday, up from 5,298 a day earlier.

There were 60 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 55 on Thursday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 708 from a previous 698.

Some 588,445 tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 679,462, the health ministry said.

Read more via ANSA

Photo – A Police officer talks to a pedestrian without a mask in the center of Genoa, Italy. From Friday, according to a municipal ordinance, the use of masks is mandatory even outdoors in the center of Genoa. The measure was taken as a precaution due to the increase in Covid-19 cases. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

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