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Italy opens major Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rome’s Fiumicino airport

Rome's Fiumicino airport has on Thursday opened a large Covid-19 vaccination 'hub' which is capable of administering 3,000 shots per day.

Italy opens major Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rome's Fiumicino airport
Photo: AFP
The 1,500-square-metre site, housed in marquees in space previously used for long-stay parking, is the first major Covid-19 vaccination centre to open at an airport in Italy.
 
The initiative is being driven by the management company, Aeroporti di Roma (AdR), in collaboration with the Lazio Region, Rome's Spallanzani Institute and the Italian Red Cross.
 

 
The new centre's programme began on Thursday with giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to doctors and other healthcare workers aged 18-55.
 
Under Italy's recently-revised vaccination schedule, the first AstraZeneca doses are to be offered to teachers, lecturers and other staff in schools and universities, as well as members of the armed forces, police, firefighters, prison staff and prisoners, other key workers and people living in religious or other shared communities who are under 55.
 
 
Meanwhile new doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, are being allocated to over-55s and people with pre-existing health problems.

Under the new plan, Italy is now starting to vaccinate over-80s, over-55s and key workers all at the same time, meaning that some 24 million people in Italy will become eligible to join the queue for a jab – though when they actually get one will depend on supplies.

CHARTS: How many people has Italy vaccinated so far?

There are currently around 300 vaccine distribution sites across Italy so far, which authorities have promised will rise to 1,500 once the campaign gets into full swing later in the year.

The government plans to construct pop-up vaccination kiosks in towns and cities throughout the country.

Italy has administered some 2.7 million vaccine doses to date.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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