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Today in Italy: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Today in Italy: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Find out what's going on in Italy today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Italy tightens coronavirus restrictions in three regions

Three more Italian regions are under tighter restrictions from Monday March 8th.as coronavirus infections continue to rise.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed a new ordinance making the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto orange zones.

The Campania region, which includes Naples, is classified as a red zone, joining the regions of Basilicata and Molise in the highest-risk level.

The health ministry noted that its regional rules are in force alongside any further restrictions announced by local authorities in each town, province or region.

MAP: Which zone is your region in under Italy’s tier system?

Photo by Carlo Hermann/AFP

White-zone region of Sardinia starts testing arrivals

The island of Sardinia, which last week became Italy’s first low-contagion-risk ‘white zone’, started testing new arrivals for Covid-19 on Monday.

The first people to be tested were around 600 passengers arriving on three ships in the port of OIbia early on Monday; two from Livorno and one from Civitavecchia.

Being a white zone makes it  possible to drop many of the coronavirus restrictions in force in the rest of the country.

READ ALSO: What are the rules in Italy’s first coronavirus ‘white zone’?

This is part of a wider strategy to keep infection rates down and make Sardinia a “Covid-free” island in time for summer, Salinas told Italian media last week.

If the result of the rapid test is negative, arrivals can continue their journeys. If not, a PCR swab test is required to confirm the result.

Italy authorizes AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s

Italy on Monday authorised the administration of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to those over 65 years of age.

The health ministry said in a statement the vaccine could be used safely on people 65 and older, except for “extremely vulnerable” subjects.

The AstraZeneca jab was initially only approved for adults aged 55 or under in Italy, but that age limit was recently raised to 65.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza has pledged that everyone in Italy who wants to be vaccinated for Covid-19 will be able to get the jab by the end of the summer.

READ ALSO: 

The minister also said he was open to the option of using the Russian Sputnik vaccine in future.

This followed his statement last week that Italy is considering giving just one vaccine dose to people who have had Covid-19.

Astrazeneca Covid vaccine
The AstraZeneca vaccine. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian students protest against distance learning as more schools close

As more regions close their schools under renewed coronavirus restrictions, two-thirds of all school students in Italy are studying remotely as of Monday March 8th.

In the latest round of demonstrations against school closures in recent weeks, students held protests on Monday in several Italian towns and cities.

In the Piedmont region, where all schools were closed again from Monday, high school and middle school students held a protest against distance learning outside the offices of the regional government in Piazza Castello, Turin.

“There is no data that shows that more infections occur at school, yet they continue to keep us at home and we can’t take it anymore”, Maia, a third year student of the Gioberti classical high school in Turin, told Rai News

Italy arrests Algerian suspected of aiding Paris attackers

talian police said on Monday they had arrested a 36-year-old Algerian on suspicion of belonging to the Islamic State group and helping the authors of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

According to anti-terrorism investigators in the southern city of Bari, the man gave direct support to the Islamist suicide bombers and gunmen, to whom he “guaranteed the availability of forged documents”, a police statement said.

Some 130 people were killed and 350 wounded in a night of carnage on November 13, 2015, when Islamist suicide bombers and gunmen attacked sites, including the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France and the bar Le Carillon.

Investigators believe the arrested man was part of an Islamic State cell operating in France and Belgium with his two brothers, according to Italian media.

La Repubblica daily named him as Athmane Touami, adding that he had reportedly already been in prison in Bari for carrying false documents and was due to be released in June.

The detention order, according to the paper, states that since 2010, Touami and his brothers also had contact with Amedy Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi, two of the extremists in the Paris attacks of January 2015, who attacked a Jewish supermarket and the Charlie Hebdo newsroom, respectively.

 A press conference with investigators was scheduled for later on Monday.


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