The number of active coronavirus cases surpassed one million in Italy on Sunday, the result of a rapid rise in cases over the past two weeks.
As of June 17, Italy had fewer than 575,000 active cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. On Sunday, that number stood at 1.01 million, an increase of more than 75% in 16 days.
The Health Ministry said increases in the infection rate are mainly due to the Omicron-5 subvariant of the virus.
Italy has become the fourth country in the world to have more than one million active cases, after the United States, with 3.5 million, Germany, with 1.5 million, and France, with 1, 4 million, according to data from the World Health Organization.
Eight of Italy’s 21 autonomous regions and provinces are considered high risk for the coronavirus, with the rest considered moderate risk.
The rate of transmission of the coronavirus has increased at a similar rate: the government announced on Friday that the rate had increased for the fourth consecutive week, reaching 1.30 in the most recent period against 1.07 a week earlier. A rate greater than 1.0 means that a disease is in the expansion phase.
Other main coronavirus indicators have also increased in recent weeks, but not to the same extent as the rate of infection and the rate of transmission.
Daily death figures remain below 100, totaling 57 on Sunday. The number of patients in intensive care units, meanwhile, rose slightly, reaching 291 on Sunday, an increase of 16 from the previous day. But those numbers are less than a tenth of the all-time highs set two years ago.
The latest increases come as Italy largely succeeded in rolling out the vaccine. Government data shows that as of Sunday, 90.1% of residents over the age of 12 had been fully vaccinated. A total of 96.6% of those residents are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months, a status considered to provide increased protection against the virus.
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