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Italy pushes back Covid curfew to 11pm and makes six regions low-risk ‘white’ zones

Italy approved a new curfew on Monday allowing people to circulate in the evenings one hour longer after the country saw its lowest coronavirus deaths in months.

Italy pushes back Covid curfew to 11pm and makes six regions low-risk 'white' zones
People look at the Piazza del Popolo from the Pincio, in Rome on November 7, 2020. - Italy has established a curfew starting from today on the whole national territory from 10 pm to 5 am, aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The 10pm-5am curfew, which has been in effect across Italy since November, will be pushed back to 11pm effective immediately from May 18th.

The curfew – intended to discourage social gatherings that could risk new coronavirus infections – will then be pushed back to midnight on June 7, and eliminated entirely on June 21 in the so-called ‘yellow’ zones where it is in effect, a government official confirmed.

Meanwhile in-restaurant dining will be allowed until 6pm from June 1st under new rules.

READ ALSO: Indoor dining and later curfew: Italy’s new timetable for easing Covid-19 restrictions

Italy began its long awaited reopening late last month, allowing restaurants and bars to operate outside and doing away with interregional travel restrictions in most of the country.

Italy has been divided into different coloured zones indicating the level of coronavirus restrictions they must follow based on health data, with ‘red’ being the highest-risk zones, followed by orange and yellow. Most of Italy is currently considered yellow.

Monday’s measures also saw six different regions being made minimal-risk ‘white’ zones, where only mask-wearing and social distancing applies: Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Molise and Sardinia, as of June 1, and Abruzzo, Veneto and Liguria a week later.

The new measures come amid encouraging health data in recent weeks while the pace of vaccinations has picked up.

Sunday’s 93 Covid-19-related deaths was the lowest figure seen since October. The health ministry recorded 140 deaths on Monday.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has faced pressure in recent weeks from the far-right, which has been pushing for the country to open up more quickly, including getting rid of the curfew entirely.

Beaches officially opened at the weekend, and European Union tourists were allowed entry into the country on Sunday without the need to quarantine for five days.

Member comments

  1. I have a question. Am I right that tourists can travel around Italy in white or yellow zones without restriction? Do we need the green pass and if so how do we go about getting that? Maybe they give us something when we enter the country? We plan to travel by train to places like Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Bologna. I want to make sure we are not breaking any rules!

      1. Thank you! I am trying to read up on it but sometimes the rules seem unclear and I want to make sure I understand them.

  2. Does anyone know whether a family from Switzerland, Germany or France can drive to Tuscany through the night to a pre-booked villa rental so they can arrive early the following day?

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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