Much of Italy set to become COVID 'orange zone'
About half of Italy's regions could face stiffer COVID-19 restrictions as of Sunday as they risk being bumped up from yellow to orange in the nation's tiered system of coronavirus measures.
This is due to a deterioration in the contagion data, amid concern about the spread of new variants.
The central region of Abruzzo, meanwhile, could be classed as a high-risk red zone, while Val d'Aosta could become the first region to become a low-risk white zone.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza will adjust the classifications on the basis of the data from the weekly coronavirus monitoring report of the health ministry and the Higher Health Institute (ISS) on Friday.
In high-risk red zones all restaurants and bars are closed, except for takeaways and home deliveries, and all non-essential shops are closed too.
In medium-high risk orange zones, shops can do business but restaurants and bars must stay closed.
In moderate risk yellow zones, shops are open and so are bars and restaurants until 6pm.
If Val d'Aosta becomes a white zone, the small Alpine region's gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, theatres and ski slopes would be able to reopen too.
The region's coronavirus parameters look to be in line with that of a white zone, with a COVID-19 Rt reproduction rate below 1 and an incidence of fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Val d'Aosta has been under this incidence threshold for three consecutive weeks.
A nationwide curfew from 10pm until 5am remains in force and a ban on travel between regions has been extended until February 25.