As hospital intensive care units are again coming under pressure, the government is this week evaluating further nationwide restrictions.
Ministers are considering several options, from extending the current evening curfew to a national lockdown.
An announcement is expected by Friday if the infection rate rises again this week, and new rules could come into force as soon as Monday, March 15th.
However, the government is reportedly split over what form of additional curbs to introduce.
Several leading health experts have recommended a total lockdown while Italy gets its struggling vaccination programme up to speed.
The government’s own panel of scientific advisors, the CTS, is reportedly recommending strict nationwide lockdowns, on weekends at least.
But some ministers are keen to keep the current tiered system of restrictions in place, meaning the rules vary depending each region’s contagion rate.
Announcing the current national emergency decree on March 2nd, health minister Roberto Speranza said that the current system of tiered restrictions should stay in place.
“We believe that differentiating between areas is the right way, because it allows us to give the most suitable answer to each part” of the country, Speranza said.
He also said the growing number of localised ‘red zones’ and other additional restrictions in hard-hit areas would continue to be “indispensable” in keeping infections under control.
But after living under the changing local measures for four months, do people in the country think this system is working? Would Italy be prepared to go into a second nationwide lockdown – just over a year since the first was announced?
A poll published by Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper suggested that 44 per cent of people in Italy would back a strict lockdown, up from 30 per cent two weeks earlier.
When we asked The Local’s readers in a Twitter poll, opinions were similarly split.
A slight majority of 41.2 percent said they would opt for a nationwide lockdown, with one reader commenting: “Get it over and done with in one full lockdown – otherwise, it’s just a game of whack-a-mole that everyone is growing weary of.”
HAVE YOUR SAY: 🇮🇹 Italy’s government is looking at several options for new coronavirus restrictions. Which would you choose?
Read more: https://t.co/jDbQDyJDqP
— The Local Italy (@TheLocalItaly) March 9, 2021
Meanwhile 38.7 percent said that, of the options being considered, they’d choose to continue with the tiered system.
As one reader put it: “The tiers have potential, but they aren’t defined well enough. I think enforcement has gotten lazy, too. Increasing vaccines should be a bigger priority than it is.”
READER VIEWS: Should Italy introduce coronavirus vaccine passports?
Another 12.6 percent thought lockdowns on weekends only – the option preferred by the CTS – were the best choice.
And 7.6 percent wanted to see something different altogether.
Several people commented to say they wanted to see all restrictions lifted – but right now, that’s one scenario the government is not considering.
Find all of The Local’s latest updates on the coronavirus situation in Italy here.