Italy Considers New Covid Restrictions in Bid to Avoid Closures
(Bloomberg) -- Italy is reviewing a package of new measures to slow a surge in Covid-19 cases during the Christmas holidays in a bid to avoid drastic measures taken by other European countries.
Mario Draghi’s government will meet on Dec. 23 to discuss possible options including requiring masks outdoors, shortening the validity of the Covid certificate and possibly also requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people to take Covid tests to access large events, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We are worried. No decision has been taken yet and we will look at the caseload, but colleagues in the U.K. are telling us omicron is a challenge,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in an interview with Rai3 Sunday. “We have an advantage, a lower incidence of omicron compared to other countries, but it won’t last long.”
The highly transmissible omicron variant is expected to become dominant in Europe in coming weeks and is spreading quickly in Italy, too, Franco Locatelli, who heads the government’s scientific advisory group, said in an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday.
Italy currently operates a three-tier system that defines restrictions for each region, and regions are also authorized to adopt specific additional new restrictions, as did Veneto, where outdoor masks are mandatory.
Italy reported 24,259 new cases and 97 new deaths Sunday, and has so far avoided the roaring surge in cases that is overwhelming other European countries, and forced a strict lockdown in the Netherlands. In the U.K. cases tripled in a day and London declared a “major incident” due to the spread of omicron.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.