Covid-19: Italian government approves reopening decree

The Italian government on Wednesday evening approved the new 'reopening' decree, containing details of the country’s plan for easing coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks and months.

Covid-19: Italian government approves reopening decree
Restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors in someparts of Italy from next week. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Many of Italy’s current restrictions will be relaxed in lower-risk areas only from Monday April 26th, a statement on the government’s website confirmed.

The updated emergency decree covers the period from April 26th until July 31st.

Among other things, the new decree will extend the current state of emergency until July 31st.


The lower-risk ‘yellow’ zone classifications will return from this date, alongside the orange and red zones currently covering the whole country.

All schools and universities will be able to resume in-person teaching in yellow and orange zones. 

Theatres, museums and cinemas will be allowed to reopen, while restaurants will be able to serve people at outdoor tables for both lunch and dinner.

But restaurants that do not have outdoor space will have to wait until June 1st to serve customers at tables again, and then only at lunchtime.

The nationwide ban on travel between regions will also no longer apply in yellow zones.

Travel to and from areas which remain classed as higher-risk red and orange zones will be allowed using a new travel “pass”.

Photo: Tiziana FABI / AFP

The nationwide evening curfew remains at 10pm, despite calls for it to be moved to 11pm to allow people more time to eat dinner at reopened restaurants.

The easing of some restrictions will come as a relief to residents who have effectively been under a form of lockdown since mid-March.

However, concerns remain about the safety of reopening now amid a still-high infection rate and ongoing delays to the vaccine rollout in Italy

Some health experts warned on Monday that reopening too soon would risk triggering a new wave of infections that could put the summer tourist season in jeopardy.

IN NUMBERS: Is it too soon for Italy to relax its coronavirus restrictions?

The health minister insisted the government was taking a “calculated risk” as the reopening was announced on Friday.

Many restrictions are expected to remain in place for now in areas designated higher-risk red and orange zones, and rules will still depend on local health data.

The government did not confirm any plans to relax the current restrictions on travel to Italy.

The tourism minister last week suggested June 2nd as a possible date for restarting non-essential travel, though this has not yet been confirmed.

For more information on the restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.