Italy Eases Covid Isolation Rules as Omicron Cases Surge
(Bloomberg) -- Italy has eased coronavirus quarantine rules and imposed a vaccine mandate for most activities in a bid to keep essential services running, after the country recorded a record number of cases for consecutive days.
Mario Draghi’s government has lifted its quarantine requirement completely for people who come into contact with a Covid-19 case as long as they have had three vaccine doses, according to a statement. Isolation time will also be cut to five days -- from seven -- for vaccinated people whose most recent dose was more than 120 days before exposure, it said. Non-vaccinated people will still be required to isolate for 10 days.
The government has also agreed to extend from Jan. 10 the use of a so-called ‘super Covid pass’ -- which is only given to vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid -- for most activities, including taking local transportation and outdoor dining.
The revised rules are set to come into force as Italy faces a surge in virus cases that’s threatening to disrupt essential services. There were 98,030 confirmed cases on Wednesday, up from 78,313 a day earlier, fueled by the fast-spreading omicron variant.
Initial studies on the variant suggesting it’s milder than other strains -- especially for people who have received three vaccine doses -- have increased pressure on Italian public health officials to ease their stance on isolation. Other countries have taken similar steps to prevent staff shortages that would disrupt healthcare and education.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that anyone who has Covid can leave isolation after five days if they are no longer experiencing symptoms, cutting the recommended period in half.
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