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Italy delays opening of ski resorts

Italy postponed the reopening of its ski resorts on Saturday until later this month, after regional authorities asked for more time to meet coronavirus regulations.

Italy delays opening of ski resorts
A net separates the ski resorts of Zermatt and Cervinia, on either side of the Italy-Switzerland border to prevent skiers of Zermatt accidentally entering Italy where ski resorts remain closed. Photo:

The ordinance signed on Saturday by Health Minister Roberto Speranza delays the reopening the country's ski lifts and facilities until January 18.

Authorities in Italy's northern and central regions had alerted the government that a planned January 7 opening date was not realistic.

“At the present time, due to the recent epidemiological trend at international level that has not facilitated the taking of the necessary decisions, it is believed that the conditions do not exist to allow initiatives and actions to allow the opening of the facilities on January 7,” they wrote, as cited in the ordinance.

The Italian government's scientific technical committee, which advises on Covid-19 rules, had signalled “medium-high” risk of crowds, inside gondolas, as well as at lift lines and during après-ski.

Most of Europe shut down its slopes for the usually busy Christmas and New Year's holiday season.

Andorra, however, opened its ski stations on Saturday but only for residents of the independent principality between France and Spain.   

On Saturday, Italy reported another 9,166 new infections and 364 deaths from Covid-19.

READ ALSO: 'Huge economic damage': Italian ski resorts fear closure until mid-January

 

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COVID-19 RULES

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

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

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

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”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records 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) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.

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