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VACCINE

Italy sets new daily record for Covid vaccinations

A record 600,000 doses of Covid vaccine were administered in Italy on Friday, putting the country in second place in Europe for the number of people fully vaccinated, authorities said.

Italy sets new daily record for Covid vaccinations
Medical workers prepare doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, in the rooms of the Claudia Comte exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art "Castello di Rivoli" near Turin. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

“Yesterday was marked by a record number of injections in 24 hours which touched the 600,000 mark while the number of doses administered crossed the 37-million mark,” the government body in charge of vaccinations said on Saturday.

“Italy is in second place in Europe in terms of the number of people fully vaccinated, just behind Germany and ahead of France and Spain,” it added.

READ ALSO: Italy opens Covid vaccinations to all age groups

It said Friday’s record vaccinations were in part due to an increase in the number of vaccination centres which now stood at 2,666 against 1,500 at the start of March. About 800 new centres will be opened in the coming weeks.

According to official government figures, 37.06 million vaccine doses have been administered and 12.7 million people — or nearly 24 percent of the population aged above 12 — have been vaccinated.

The pandemic has claimed 126,415 lives in Italy where the number of cases and deaths has been falling steadily in recent weeks.

The government has been slowly easing Covid restrictions, relaxing a night curfew and opening up indoor dining in restaurants and bars.

READ ALSO: How can you book a Covid vaccination appointment in Italy?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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