The coronavirus situation in Italy remains stable, despite the fourth wave of the pandemic, says a health official.

Walter Ricciardi, adviser to Italy's Health Minister said the current rules in place are enough to protect Italy from a peak in cases over the next few months: "The current situation in Italy is much better compared to other countries," Ricciardi said in an interview. "This is mainly due to our high vaccination rate and to the green pass rule, which allows people to hang out at indoor places with a certain level of safety," he added.

He made the statements at a time when a number of European countries reported rising new infection numbers, including Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Netherlands, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

"The fourth wave has started here already, but we can mitigate it if we keep following the preventive rules, go ahead with vaccine boosters, and manage testing and tracing in schools adequately," Ricciardi continued.

"If so, the fourth wave will remain moderate, and not overwhelming such as those hitting other countries, and we will make it through the winter in acceptable conditions."

To date, according to official data, 83.5% of Italy’s population aged 12 and over have been fully vaccinated against Covid, amounting to around 45 million people.

At the end of September, booster shots started to be given to health workers, vulnerable people and those over 60 years of age. Last week Health Minister Roberto Speranza said booster jabs would start to be administered to the under-60s by next month.

As of Tuesday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Italy stands at 4,812,594, with 132,423 fatalities.

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