Italian town warns people to 'stop dying'

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Italian town warns people to 'stop dying'
The medieval town of Sellia, Calabria. Photo: Comune di Sellia

A small medieval village in Calabria has taken a unique approach to the problem of its dwindling and ageing population: ban people from getting sick.


Davide Zicchinella, the mayor of Sellia, in the province of Catanzaro, signed the decree on Wednesday, which stated “it is forbidden to get sick in the town.”

The decree comes as part of Zicchinella's bid to save the town from extinction, by incentivizing residents to take care of their health.

The decree called on all 537 of the town's citizens to “put your health first and look after your nearest and dearest.”

It also encourages citizens to go to a new medical center which opened last month for a check-up. Those who go will be exempt from an annual health tax of €10.

Since the center opened more than 100 citizens have fixed an appointment to ensure they were in tip-top condition, a result which has delighted Mayor Zecchinella, himself a doctor by trade.

“Our citizens response has been more than encouraging. It's a result that embraces the spirit of this initiative,” the mayor was reported as saying by tgcom24.

In 1960, the town had 1,300 citizens, but today just 537 remain and six in 10 citizens are over 65.

But Sellia is just one of many small Italian towns that risks disappearing. Italy has one of the oldest populations on the world, with more than 20 percent aged over 65.

Fewer Italians are having children, and the country's population growth is almost at zero, according to the most recent figures from Istat, the national statistics agency.



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