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How Italy plans to scrap remaining Covid rules by New Year

The Local Italy
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How Italy plans to scrap remaining Covid rules by New Year
An Italian hospital during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

The Italian government has laid out plans to relax the country's remaining Covid restrictions in a decree set to be approved between Christmas and New Year.

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A decree containing the latest amendments to Italy's Covid-19 containment measures is awaiting final approval from the lower house of parliament by New Year's Eve, after it was voted through by the Senate on Wednesday.

While Italy has relatively few health measures still in place, almost all of the remaining rules are expected to be scrapped under the amendments.

One key change is the removal of the requirement to test negative to exit quarantine following the mandatory five-day isolation period for those infected.

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The decree text did not state what the rules would be for patients who continue to experience symptoms after the five days are over. Clarification is expected from the health ministry at a later date.

At the moment, those who continue to test positive after the five day mark must continue to self-isolate for up to two weeks, regardless of whether they are symptomatic.

READ ALSO: Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

The decree would also end the requirement for all visitors to hospitals and care homes to display a 'green pass' health certificate proving vaccination against Covid-19 or a recent negative test result.

Under the new rules, people who have come into contact with someone who tested positive could cut their period of 'self-surveillance' - during which they are not required to quarantine, but should wear a FFP2 mask in public and avoid gatherings and crowds - from ten to five days.

The requirement was due to expire on December 31st, but in the past such rules have typically been extended or renewed before the deadline.

The proposed amendments are expected to be passed easily in the lower house, where the government enjoys a comfortable majority.

The amendments also include the suspension of fines for those who have refused to comply with the country's vaccine mandates.

Teachers, law enforcement officers and over-50s in Italy, all of whom were at one point required by law to get vaccinated against Covid, may not be required to pay the €100 fines currently being levied if the decree is passed.

The changes to the Covid rules were included in the text of the government's controversial 'anti-rave decree'.

The bill provides for prison sentences of between three and six years or €10,000 fines for organisers of unauthorised gatherings of more than 50 people that authorites deem a threat to public safety, order or health.

Ostensibly a public health measure aimed at preventing what the government calls "illegal raves", human rights organisations warned the decree could be used to clamp down on protests and criminalise free expression.

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