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HEALTH

Coronavirus in Italy: The phone numbers and websites you need to know about

If you feel unwell or have questions about the coronavirus situation in Italy, help is at hand from the safety of your own home. Here's a guide to the resources available.

Coronavirus in Italy: The phone numbers and websites you need to know about
Police officers in Bergamo, Italy, providing advice via a phone helpline for local residents. Photo: AFP

If you need medical help

If you suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus – coughing, fever, fatigue and other cold- or flu-like symptoms – stay indoors and seek assistance from home.

In a medical emergency, call 112 or 118. The Italian authorities request that people only call emergency numbers if it is absolutely necessary.

READ ALSO: Emergency in Italy: Who to call and what to say

You can also seek advice from Italy's dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1500. It is open 24/7 and information is available in Italian, English and Chinese.

Each Italian region also has its own helpline:

  • Basilicata: 800 99 66 88
  • Calabria: 800 76 76 76
  • Campania: 800 90 96 99
  • Emilia-Romagna: 800 033 033
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia: 800 500 300
  • Lazio: 800 11 88 00
  • Liguria: 800 938 883 (open 9:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday and 9.00 to 12.00 on Saturday)
  • Lombardy: 800 89 45 45
  • Marche: 800 93 66 77
  • Piedmont: 800 19 20 20 (open 24 hours a day) or 800 333 444 (open 8:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday)
  • Province of Trento: 800 867 388
  • Province of Bolzano: 800 751 751
  • Puglia: 800 713 931
  • Sardinia: 800 311 377
  • Sicily: 800 45 87 87
  • Tuscany: 800 55 60 60
  • Umbria: 800 63 63 63
  • Val d’Aosta: 800 122 121
  • Veneto: 800 462 340 

Some regions and cities have additional coronavirus helplines: check your local comune's website for more information.

You can find advice on how you can avoid spreading the infection to others on the websites of Italy's Ministry of Health (in English), the World Health Organisation, and the European Centre for Disease Control.

If you want general information

The Italian Health Ministry now has a general FAQ page available in English here.

For migrants and refugees in Italy, the UN Refugee Agency has provided general information on the situation in Italy in 15 languages here.

The Department for Civil Protection publishes new figures regarding the number of new confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries, and intensive care patients in Italy every evening around 6pm. You can find all their latest data visualisations here.

The Health Ministry also provides these figures as a list on its website (in Italan).

We report these figures daily on The Local Italy.

Find all of The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here.

If your children, or children you work with, want to talk about the coronavirus, Save the Children has information for children and caregivers on its website in several languages.

If you want to help others

Here is a link to register your interest in various volunteering roles in Lombardy, the region around Milan, which is the area by far worst-hit by the coronavirus crisis in Europe.

Numerous online fundraisers have been set up for hospitals around Italy. You can find details about some of the campaigns in this article.

The italian Red Cross are delivering food and medicine to anyone in the country who needs it, and you can donate to support their efforts here.

Church-run charity Caritas is also helping people across Italy who are struggling during the coronavirus outbreak. You can donate to support them here.

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COVID-19 RULES

Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

The new Italian government has announced the end of some remaining Covid health measures. Here's a look at what will - and won't - change.

Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Few Covid-related restrictions remain in Italy today, six months after the nationwide ‘state of emergency’ ended.

The previous government had kept only a handful of precautionary measures in place – which the new government, led by Giorgia Meloni, must now decide whether or not to keep.

The cabinet is holding a meeting on Monday and will issue a decree this week detailing any changes to the health measures.

Many expect the government to scrap all measures entirely by the end of the year, after Meloni and her party criticised the way Mario Draghi’s administration handled the pandemic throughout its tenure. 

Meloni clearly stated in her first address to parliament last Tuesday that “we will not replicate the model of the previous government” when it comes to managing Covid.

READ ALSO: Five key points from Meloni’s first speech as new Italian PM

While she acknowledged that Italy could be hit by another Covid wave, or another pandemic, she did not say how her government would deal with it.

Meanwhile, new health minister Orazio Schillaci issued a statement on Friday confirming the end of several existing measures, saying he “considers it appropriate to initiate a progressive return to normality in activities and behaviour”.

Workplace ban for unvaccinated medical staff

Schillaci confirmed that the ministry will allow doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to return to work after being suspended because they refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

They will be allowed to return “in light of the worrying shortage of medical and health personnel” and “considering the trend of Covid infections”, the statement said.

Fines issued to healthcare staff aged over 50 who refused vaccination would also be cancelled, it added.

There were some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Daily Covid data reports

Schillaci also confirmed in the statement that the health ministry will no longer release daily updates on Covid-19 contagion rates, hospital cases and deaths, saying this would be replaced by a weekly update.

It said it would however make the data available at any time to relevant authorities.

Mask requirement in hospitals to stay?

The requirement to wear face masks in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities expires on Monday, October 31st.

At a meeting on the same day the government is expected to decide whether to extend the measure.

READ ALSO: What can we expect from Italy’s new government?

While the government had looked at scrapping the requirement, it reportedly changed stance at the last minute on Monday after facing heavy criticism from health experts.

Media reports published while the meeting was in progress on Monday said government sources had indicated the measure would in fact be extended.

Confirmation is expected to come later on Monday.

Italy’s face mask rules in care homes and healthcare facilities are up for renewal. Photo by Thierry ZOCCOLAN / AFP

‘Green pass’ health certificate

There is no indication that the new government plans to bring back any requirements to show a ‘green pass’: the digital certificate proving vaccination against or recent recovery from Covid, or a negative test result.

The pass is currently only required for entry to healthcare facilities and care homes, and this is expected to remain the case.

‘Dismantling the measures’

Some of the confirmed changes were strongly criticised by Italy’s most prominent healthcare experts.

Head of the Gimbe association for evidence-based medicine, Nino Cartabellotta, said the focus on cancelling fines for unvaccinated healthcare workers was “irrelevant from a health point of view .. but unscientific and highly diseducative”.

He told news agency Ansa it was “absolutely legitimate” for a new government to discontinue the previous administration’s measures, but that this “must also be used to improve everything that the previous government was unable to do”.

The government should prioritise “more analytical collection of data on hospitalised patients, investments in ventilation systems for enclosed rooms … accelerating coverage with vaccine boosters,” he said.

However, the plan at the moment appeared to be “a mere dismantling of the measures in place,” he said, “in the illusory attempt to consign the pandemic to oblivion, ignoring the recommendations of the international public health authorities”.

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