Phase Two: What changes in Italy from May 4th?

As Italy enters the second phase of its coronavirus lockdown, here are the new rules on what you can do from Monday.

Phase Two: What changes in Italy from May 4th?
Italy has relaxed its lockdown rules partially, but not entirely. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A new government decree comes into force from May 4th, replacing the strict lockdown rules that had been in place nationwide for more than seven weeks.

While it gives back some liberties, including going to the park and exercising outdoors, freedom of movement remains limited – especially over longer distances.

From now until May 17th, here's what changes for people in Italy.

You can travel home

From May 4th you are allowed to return to your permanent place of residence in Italy, even if it means going from one region to another.

READ ALSO: Will we still need a form to go outside under Italy's lockdown phase two?

But once you get home you're expected to stay there: you can't go back and forth between two addresses. And if you're travelling to the south of Italy, some regions have imposed a mandatory quarantine for anyone returning from the north.

Anyone returning to Italy from overseas, meanwhile, is obliged to spend two weeks in self-isolation. Find more details here on the rules for entering Italy from abroad, which remain unchanged in Phase Two.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

You can visit relatives who live in the same region as you

Seeing “congiunti” (relatives or kin) is now considered a legitimate reason to travel within your own region. The definition includes spouses, partners, parents, children, in-laws, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, cousins' children and “people linked by a stable bond of affection” – but not friends.

READ ALSO: Who exactly are you allowed to visit under Italy's 'phase two' lockdown rules?

Family parties, like any kind of gathering, remain banned. You'll have to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing when socializing with any of your “congiunti”.

You can go to the park 

You'll have to keep your distance from others; some areas where it's hard to do so, such as children's playgrounds or outdoor gyms, may remain closed or limit the number of people who can enter at once.

Picnics or other gatherings are strictly forbidden, and you should go to the park alone unless accompanying children or someone who needs assistance.

And while the national government has given the OK, ultimately it's up to each regional governor or town mayor to decide when local parks can reopen.

You can leave your neighbourhood to exercise

You'll be allowed to go on long walks, runs or bike rides for exercise without having to stay within a 200-metre radius of your home address.

But you'll be expected to maintain a safe distance from others at all times, and team sports will remain banned.

People exercise in Rome on May 3rd. Photo: Vincenzo PInto/AFP

Some regions have also said that they will allow people to travel within the region for the purpose of exercising: driving to the mountains, for examples, or taking the bus to a swimming pool.

You'll have to wear a face mask

The national government says masks or other face coverings are now compulsory in all enclosed public spaces, for instance on public transport and in shops or offices.

READ ALSO: When and where do you need to wear a face mask in Italy?

Some regions require them anywhere in public, including on the street or in parks.

More people will be going back to work

The construction, manufacturing, wholesale and real estate sectors are allowed to resume activity from May 4th, along with architects, accountants, engineers, lawyers and other professionals.

Passengers at Milan train station on May 4th. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

You can pick up a takeaway

Cafes, restaurants, gelaterie and pasticcerie, which could previously offer only home delivery, are now allowed to serve takeaways from their premises – though food must be eaten at home, not on the street, to avoid groups gathering outside.

You can buy plants and flowers

Garden centres and plant kiosks are officially allowed to reopen, joining the limited list of shops currently serving customers.

Supermarkets, grocers, newsstands, pharmacies, book shops, stationers and children's clothing stores remain open, but no other shops will be lifting the shutters until at least May 18th.

Funerals will resume

While weddings, baptisms, mass and other ceremonies remain forbidden, from May 4th it is once again possible to hold funerals. Attendees must be limited to 15 people – close family only – and should wear face masks and follow social distancing.

What hasn't changed?

You'll still need a self-certification form to go outside (find the latest version here) – though reports in the Italian press suggest that police will be a bit more relaxed about checking them. 

And anyone with Covid-19 symptoms (fever, tiredness, dry cough) must remain in isolation at home to limit the risk of getting others sick. Call your doctor or one of Italy's coronavirus helplines if you feel unwell.

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WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

The World Health Organization's European office said Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths can be expected, following reports of the first fatalities outside Africa, while stressing that severe complications were still be rare.

WHO expects more monkeypox-related deaths in Europe

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

Smallwood emphasised that the goal needs to be “interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak”.

However, Smallwood stressed that in most cases the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

“The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications,” Smallwood noted.

The Spanish health ministry recorded a second monkeypox-related death on Saturday, a day after Spain and Brazil reported their first fatalities.

The announcements marked what are thought to be the first deaths linked to the current outbreak outside Africa.

Spanish authorities would not give the specific cause of death for the fatalities pending the outcome of an autopsy, while Brazilian authorities underlined that the man who died had “other serious conditions”.

“The usual reasons patients might require hospital care include help in managing pain, secondary infections, and in a small number of cases the need to manage life-threatening complications such as encephalitis,” Smallwood explained.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May, with the majority of them in Europe.

The WHO last week declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.

As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus — men who have sex with men — to limit their sexual partners.

Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.