The study was aimed at describing potential indirect effects of pandemic-related measures on very-low-birthweight infants in four Italian NICUs. No overall change in late-onset sepsis (LOS) and necrotizing enterocolitis was documented. However, in the NICU where baseline LOS rate was high, a significant reduction in LOS incidence was recorded. Conclusion: COVID-19-related implementation of NICU hygiene policies is likely to reduce the occurrence of LOS in high-risk settings. What is Known: • COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routine care in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), mostly by tightening infection control measures and restricting parental presence in the NICU. • Beyond the described psychological impact of COVID-19 related measures on healthcare workers and NICU families, their consequences in terms of preterm infants’ clinical outcomes have not been described in detail yet. What is New: • Strengthened infection-control measures do not seem to have an overall influence on the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis and late-onset sepsis in very-low-birth-weight infants. • However, the implementation of these measures appears to reduce the occurrence of late-onset sepsis in settings where the baseline incidence of the disease is high.