Covid-19: Italy considers ban on private parties as new cases rise sharply

Covid-19: Italy considers ban on private parties as new cases rise sharply
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Italy is on Monday preparing to introduce tougher-than-expected new restrictions nationwide, including a ban on gatherings at home, as the country's infection rate rises to levels last seen in March.

The italian government is meeting on Monday to finalise plans for a new emergency decree which is set to bring in much tougher restrctions than originally planned.

As The Local reported last week. ministers were supposed to vote on the planned new decree on October 7th but this was postponed. The government now has until Thursday October 15th to draw up the new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of the virus in Italy.

IN MAPS: Where and how coronavirus cases are rising in Italy

Italian media reports suggest the decree could be ready as soon as Monday evening, and measures are widely expected to be tougher than were originally included in a draft seen last week.

Health minister Roberto Speranza said on Sunday night that he had proposed a nationwide ban on parties, including on private property, saying this was needed to keep schools open due to the high number of transmissions between family members.

“Parties will not only be banned for kids, but for everyone,” he said on Italy's Rai TV channel. “We need to send a very clear message.”

While it is unclear how such a measure could be enforced, Speranza added: “When there is a rule, Italians have shown that they respect it and that they don't need a policeman to monitor them.”

“I'm convinced that the vast majority of people will follow the instructions contained in an emergency decree.”

The government is also believed to be debating a ban on amateur contact sports, including five-a-side football, reports Italian news agency Ansa.

City authorities in Rome also want to reduce hours for bars and restaurants.

Italian regional authorities can declare “red zones” or enforce local lockdowns under special powers granted due to the country's state of emergency.While ministers have said they do not believe a nationwide lockdown will be needed, regions and municipalities may choose to bring in localised lockdowns in response to spiking cases in the area.

The new measures are not yet confirmed.

The government's panel of scientific advisors (CTS) will meet on Monday to discuss the proposals, and if it gives the go-ahead the measures will be signed into law in the coming days.

The government hastily revised its draft of the new decree after the number of new cases being reported daily in Italy shot up over the end of last week.

Ministers also toughened rules making it obligatory to wear a mask whenever you leave your home, at all times of the day and in all parts of the country, and raised the fines for non-compliance to between €400 and €1,000.

Italy also added the UK to its list of countries from which travellers face mandatory testing on arrival.

Italy’s daily infections surpassed 5,000 in recent days for the first time since March.

The rate of contagion has “accelerated” in Italy over the past week and the nation's health services are starting to feel the strain, the ISS said on Friday.

The number of deaths and hospitalisations in Italy is also rising.

However the number of deaths linked to the virus remains far lower than at the peak of the outbreak in spring.

This is believed to be down to the fact that Italy is now testing widely as part of its prevention and control strategy. In March only suspected cases were tested, as the country struggled to deal with being the first western country hit by coronavirus.

 


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