Authorities in Italy have found that only 2.5% of Italians, or 1,482,000 people, have Covid-19 antibodies despite it being one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus in Europe.
According to the results of a national survey released on Monday, the northern region of Lombardy, the worse-hit by the pandemic, reported the highest number of people with antibodies, 7.5%, while the two main Italian islands, Sicily and Sardinia, had the lowest number of 0.3 % of the population.
“The different results of the survey in the country’s territory are very relevant. This means that the tough and rigorous measure adopted by the central and regionals governments, and the correct behavior of the Italian people avoided a more massive spread of the virus,” Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said during a news conference on Monday.
According to the survey, almost a third of those who tested positive for antibodies were asymptomatic and the most frequent source of infection, in 41.7 % of the cases, is from a relative living in the same house.
The current number of people with antibodies is six times higher than that registered during the pandemic, said Linda Laura Sabbadini, director of the National Institute for Statistics (Istat).
More on the survey: The survey, carried out in collaboration with the Italian Red Cross, between May 25 and July 15, tested blood samples from 64,660 people from 2,000 villages and cities across Italy, split by sex, occupation and age groups. The survey did not include people living in health care facilities.
In May, the government had said the survey would include 150,000 people, but "the health emergency made the survey procedure more complicated,” but still "an incredibly useful source of data," Sabbadini explained during a press conference.