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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Which are Italy’s best hospitals and where are they?

Italy’s healthcare system is said to be among the best in the world, but stark regional differences persist. Here’s where you’ll find the country’s most highly-rated hospitals.

Which are Italy’s best hospitals and where are they?

The average standard of healthcare in Italy is fairly high: the country has been ranked among the nations with the best healthcare systems in the world in surveys published by the World Health Organisation, Bloomberg and Statista.

But not all of Italy’s hospitals – or regional healthcare systems – are rated equally. A new World’s Best Hospitals ranking from Newsweek and global data firm Statista has revealed which of Italy’s hospitals are seen as the best.

The study ranked Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli as the best hospital in the country for the third year in a row, followed by Ospedale Niguarda and Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan.

The top five was completed by Policlinico Sant’Orsola in Bologna and the Istituto Humanitas in Rozzano, just south of Milan.

Spots from six to ten are occupied by: Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, Azienda Ospedaliera in Padua, Ospedale Borgo Trento in Verona, Ospedale Papa Giovanni II in Bergamo and Turin’s Presidio Ospedaliero Molinette.

READ ALSO: Five essential facts about Italy’s public healthcare system

But aside from Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli, no hospital from the centre or south of the country figured in the top ten, with the first ‘non-northern’ hospital – Florence’s Ospedale Careggi – ranking 13th.

In fact, only three southern hospitals made it into the nation’s top 50, with the first one – Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in San Giovanni Rotondo, Puglia – coming in 33rd.

These results seem to once again confirm the stark imbalances in the quality of medical services offered across the country, with central and southern regions continuing to perform poorly compared to their northern counterparts. 

You can read more about the issue and its causes HERE

Shifting from a national outlook to an international one, Italian hospitals didn’t fare quite as well as could be hoped.

The top five Italian hospitals all figured among the best 100 hospitals in the world, though only Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli made it into the top 50 (it came in 38th, to be exact).

However, Italy still had a total of 13 hospitals included in the world’s top 250 list, which made it the third most-represented European country in the ranking after Germany (25) and France (16).

Statista assessed the performance of over 2,300 hospitals around the world, basing its ranking upon a combination of the following four data sources: the opinion of over 80,000 healthcare professionals, patient experience surveys following hospitalisation, publicly available hospital quality metrics, and patient perception questionnaires.