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HEALTH

Italy extends Covid-19 emergency measures until July 31st

Italy's current emergency rules aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 will remain in place until at least the end of July, after the government signed off on an extension to the latest emergency decree.

Italy extends Covid-19 emergency measures until July 31st
A sticker on the floor of a Rome hotel advises visitors to keep their distance. Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed a bill late on Tuesday extending the current rules provided under the so-called relaunch decree until July 31st.
 
The extension was approved by the Senate with 154 votes in favour and 129 against.
 
It obliges the government to “extend the preventive measures provided for by the Prime Minister's decree of June 11th, and to strengthen the monitoring of arrivals from non-Schengen countries,” Italian media reports.
 
The emergency phase “has not passed”, Speranza said in an address to the Senate.
 
“We must not underestimate the pandemic risk. The circulation of the virus is accelerating and it is not losing strength”.
 
“There will always be some risk without a vaccine,” the minister added.

 
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza. File photo: AFP
 
“Today worldwide 13 million people have been infected and half a million have died,” he said. “It is evident that we cannot lower our guard, and we must not be divided about this.”
 
“There is debate within the scientific community but no one says it is not necessary to wear face masks, keep one's distance or wash hands”.
 
The current measures in place include the obligation to wear face masks on public transport and in shops, restaurants, public offices, hospitals, and workplaces where it is not possible for people to keep at least one metre apart at all times.
 
 
Travel restrictions
 
The extension also covers current restrictions on travel to and from Italy, Speranza confrmed.
 
He said the government was sticking to its “prudent line” on arrivals from outside Europe after several outbreaks in Italy reportedly stemming from imported cases.
 
“We must not go back on the prevention measures in order to reignite our economy,” Speranza said. “The sacrifices made cannot have been in vain.”
 
“Today there is a ban on arrivals and transit from 13 countries. We will constantly update this list and the 14-day quarantine remains for all arrivals from extra-European countries.
 
(For more information, please see this complete guide to exactly who can travel to Italy right now, in a separate article.)
 
“We are in danger of importing the novel coronavirus from citizens who come from abroad or Italian citizens returning home.”
 
He added that the government is “also paying maximum attention to migrant landings, with a period of quarantine,” after reports of some migrants arriving in southern Italy recently testing positive for the virus.
 
Speranza also stressed that the government has not yet made a final decision on extending the coronavirus state of emergency beyond the end of July, amid reports of it potentially being extended until the end of October.

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STRIKES

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travellers are once again set to face serious disruption as Italy will experience a new round of transport strikes in February. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travel to, from and across Italy was disrupted by dozens of strikes in January

And, while many travellers might have hoped for a change in the trend, strikes are set to continue into February as Italian unions have already announced a further round of demonstrations affecting rail and public transport services as well as airline travel.

Here’s an overview of February’s main strike actions, including a national public transport strike on Friday, February 17th and another nationwide walkout from airport ground staff on Tuesday, February 28th.

Public transport

February 17th: Public transport staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Friday, February 17th. 

The strike was called in late January by Italian union USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) to protest against precarious work and “wild privatisation” attempts on the part of the Italian state.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

There currently aren’t any details as to what percentage of workers will take part in the action. As such, the amount of disruption travellers should expect on the day cannot be estimated yet. 

Air travel

February 12th: Air traffic control staff at Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport will take part in a 24-hour strike action on Sunday, February 12th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the walkout in question will affect air travel to and from the airport on the day.

Travellers at an Italian airport

A national strike from ground service staff may cause delays and queues at many Italian airports on Tuesday, February 28th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

February 28th: Baggage handlers and other airport ground service staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday, February 28th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the strike will affect air travel during the day, though a similar demonstration caused significant delays and queues at some Italian airports in late January.

ENAV air traffic operators based in Calabria are also expected to strike on February 28th, with the walkout set to start at 1pm and end at 5pm.

Rail

February 5th-6th: Calabria-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9pm on Sunday, February 5th to 9pm the following day. 

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 9th: Staff from Lombardy’s Trenord will take part in a 22-hour strike – from 2am to 11.50pm – on Thursday, February 9th.

Empty train platform in Codogno, Lombardy

Staff from Lombardy’s regional railway operator Trenord will strike for 22 hours on Thursday, February 9th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

It’s currently unclear whether Trenord will operate minimum services on the day. Any information regarding the strike will be released on the following website page

February 12th-13th: Trenitalia staff in Emilia-Romagna will strike from 3.30am on Sunday, February 12th to 2.30am on Monday, February 13th.

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 19th: Veneto-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, February 19th. 

Guaranteed services are available here.

On the same day, there will be no service between Milan’s Milano Centrale station and Paris’s Gare de Lyon due to a strike from staff at France’s national railway company SNCF.

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

February 20th: Trenitalia personnel in Lombardy are expected to strike from 9am to 5pm on Monday, February 20th. 

Guaranteed services haven’t been made available yet. 

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.

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