Italy experiencing ‘most severe flu season’

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Italy is in the midst of its “most severe flu season in years”, with some 7.8 million citizens suffering flu-like symptoms since October 2023, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Health. The peak in flu infections came during the week spanning the New Year, with a slow decline since then, reports Xinhua news agency.

The current infection levels are higher than in previous years, with the caseload in this winter set to surpass the 14 million cases in the winter of 2022-23. The number of Covid-19 cases declined this month. A weekly bulletin from the Ministry of Health released on Friday showed 9,675 new infections during the week between January 11-17, less than half the level from a week earlier.

Meanwhile, Italy recently announced it had completed over 2 million vaccinations against the Omicron’s subvariant XBB. Health officials warned that although the infection levels for both seasonal influenza and the coronavirus appear to have peaked, there was a risk of new variants. They encouraged people, especially the elderly and the vulnerable, to be prudent.

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This month, the Ministry of Health extended rules for the obligatory use of masks until at least June 30 for hospitals and old-age homes.