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Italy's latest emergency decree, set to be signed on Tuesday and come into force on Wednesday, includes a nationwide evening curfew and tougher measures for regions with the highest transmission rates, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday evening.
The forthcoming decree will include a new three-tier system expected to be similar to that currently used in the UK.
The worst-affected regions, which Conte named as Lombardy, Campania and Piedmont, would face the toughest restrictions.
“In the next emergency decree we will indicate three risk scenarios with increasingly restrictive measures.” Conte said.
The country is to be divided into three bands under differing “scientific and objective” criteria approved by the Higher Institute of Health (ISS), he said.
The forthcoming decree, which has not yet been signed into law, does not specifically mention lockdown measures.
However, Conte said “targeted interventions according to the risks in the various regions” would include a “ban on travel to high-risk regions, national travel limit in the evening, more distance learning, and public transport capacity limited to 50 percent”.
The government has not yet given full details of the restrictions to be put in place under each tier, and the text of the forthcoming decree has not yet been released.
However, Italian media reports that the three tiers will be a “traffic-light system” as follows:
Red zones: Lombardy, Calabria and Piedmont. Here, most shops including hairdressers and beauticians must close. Factories and essential services will remain open, including pharmacies and supermarkets as was the case during lockdown in March, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports.
Schools will remain open for students up to the sixth grade while older students will learn remotely.
Orange zones: Puglia, Liguria, Campania and other regions (full list yet to be confirmed.) Here restaurants and bars are to be closed all day (no longer only after 6pm as under current rules). However, hairdressers and beauty centres can remain open.
Green zones: All regions which are not declared red or orange zones. These will still be more restrictive rules than are currently in force.
The Health Ministry decides which region is in which zone, bypassing local authorities – many of which have said they do not want a local lockdown or other tough measures.
The system is based on the “risk scenarios” outlined in advisory documents drawn up by the ISS giving guidance on appropriate measures for the government to take in each case, Conte explained.
Health experts confirmed on Friday that the country overall is now in “scenario 3” but the situation in some regions corresponds to “scenario 4”.
Scenario 4 is the last and most serious provided for in the ISS plan.
Conte also announced national measures, including the closure of shopping centres on weekends, a complete closure of museums, restrictions on travel in the evenings, and moving all high schools and potentially middle schools to distance-learning.
The latest measures fell short of what had been expected – and what has been introduced in countries such France, the UK and Spain recently.
Italy's latest set of coronavirus rules will come in under the fourth emergency decree announced since October 13th.
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