The Italian government is considering imposing new COVID-19 measures, following a surge of positive cases and Omicron concerns.
According to various news agencies, the respective authorities will meet on December 23 to discuss the possible restrictions. Among those up for discussion may be face-covering requirements and reducing the COVID-19 certificates’ validity. A further item is about imposing a testing requirement for all people wanting to attend large events, regardless of their vaccination status.
“We are worried. No decision has been taken yet, and we will look at the caseload, but colleagues in the U.K. are telling us Omicron is a challenge. We have an advantage, a lower incidence of Omicron compared to other countries, but it won’t last long,” the Italian Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, told Rai3 Sunday.
Omicron cases surging across Europe
Franco Locatelli (official scientific advisory group) explained the new variant may become dominant in Europe in coming weeks.
Data from John Hopkins University shows Italy recorded the lowest number of positive cases with COVID-19 last week. On the other end of the scale stands Switzerland with 781.9 positive cases rates for 100,000 inhabitants. Following were France with 509.5 and Germany with 414.9. Overall, the EU recorded 391 positive cases on average during this period.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) data reveals 143,000 positive cases registered in Italy over the last seven days. That takes the number of positive cases to a total of over 5.3 million. In addition, Italy recorded 750 deaths in the country during the same period. That takes the death toll since the pandemic started to a total of 135,301.
Already extended state of emergency in Italy
Reports of tighter requirements and other rules come less than one week the Italian government extended the state of emergency until 31st March, 2022.
“The Council of Ministers, on the proposal of President Mario Draghi and the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, approved a decree-law that provides for the extension of the national state of emergency and measures for the containment of the COVID-19 epidemic until March 31, 2022,” the Council announced in a press release.
In addition, last week, Italian authorities obliged unvaccinated EU passengers to quarantine upon arrival. It also imposed the testing requirement on those who have been vaccinated earlier.