New localized “red zones” have been imposed in areas across Italy after the new variants were identified in them.
Red zone restrictions -- which prohibit people from leaving their houses except for work or health reasons – went into effect on Monday in municipalities in the province of Perugia and six municipalities in the province of Terni, which are located in the central Italian region of Umbria.
They will be in place until February 21, the regional government of Umbria said on Saturday.
The UK and Brazilian Covid-19 variants were detected on a sample of 44 cases recently analyzed by the Italian Health Institute, the local government said on Saturday.
The Italian Health Institute’s report said it "induces to believe" that the presence of the variants contributed to a rise in positive cases in the provinces of Perugia and Terni.
On Sunday, the Tuscan town of Chiusi, located near the border of Umbria, also became a red zone after the South African and Brazilian variants were detected within the community, according to the town’s mayor. On Friday, Juri Bettollini said that the restrictions will last a week and that mass, voluntary testing will be carried out in the town from Monday.
The Northern autonomous province of Bolzano (South Tyrol) has also been placed under a red zone on Monday, a measure that will be in effect until February 28, according to the local government.
The Bolzano government said in a statement on Saturday that they had made the decision after the first case of the UK variant was detected in the province.
Red zone restrictions were also imposed on Saturday to three other municipalities in the region of Abruzzo.
Most Italian regions are currently in "yellow zones," the lightest of a three-tier system of restrictions.
The remaining regions of Umbria, as well as Sicily and Puglia, are currently in the "orange zone,” where people are prohibited from leaving their town and their region -- except for work or health reasons -- and bars and restaurants are only offering delivery and take-away services.