How could Italy’s Covid-19 rules change in the next two weeks?

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The Italian government is still working on what comes next, as the current Covid-19 restrictions are scheduled to end on April 6th – the day after Easter Monday.

A new decree will come into force from April 7th, which will replace the tightened measures put in place at present earlier this month.

All regions of Italy are currently in a red or orange zone, indicating elevated risk and heightened restrictions. And no matter where you are in Italy, the entire country will become a red zone over the Easter weekend of April 3rd-5th.

EXPLAINED:

After that there’s a question mark over whether restrictions will ease, as government ministers continue to meet scientific advisors to study whether it’s safe to begin reopening schools, businesses and borders.

Italy is waiting for the latest weekly situation report to be released on Friday March 26th, compiled by the National Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health.

Based on that data, the government will be able to make a plan on which parts of the country will fall into which zones. Alternatively, there could be a mini-extension of the current rules for another week.

Monitoring the latest figures, some regions are already hoping they could go from red to orange for at least a few days next week before the nationwide Easter lockdown.

Among the regions that have seen an improvement in their health data are Lazio and Veneto, both currently red zones. Meanwhile officials in Lombardy say they expect to remain red until Easter, and Tuscany is hoping to stay orange instead of sliding into red.

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Until a new decree is released, the restrictions after Easter can’t be defined with any certainty.

One thing we do know is that the government wants to reopen schools, which are currently closed in all red zones and some orange zones.

In a speech to the senate on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: “As the vaccination campaign proceeds, it is good to start planning for re-opening. We will begin to re-open primary and pre-schools, if the situation allows, even in red zones after Easter.”

The Minister of Equal Opportunity and Family, Elena Bonetti, echoed Draghi’s sentiments. She said there was a need to “re-evaluate the possibility of re-opening pre-schools and at least elementary schools”.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi is keen to reopen schools after Easter. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

The latest data indicates that the tougher measures are starting to pay off.

“The first signs of improvement can be seen,” the GIMBE Foundation, an independent health think tank, said in its latest report on Thursday. New cases of Covid-19 in Italy were down by 4.8 percent between between March 17th to 23rd, the report said. 

But the foundation warned that pressure on hospitals remained intense, with facilities in at least half of Italy’s 20 regions overloaded.

Italy’s vaccination programme is also proceeding more slowly than it should, GIMBE said.

All eyes are on a speedier vaccination rollout following multiple delays. Draghi has said he wants to increase the administration of vaccinations to 500,000 doses per day to help pull Italy out of lockdown. 

We will publish updates on the next decree as soon as information is available. For more information on Italy’s latest coronavirus rules, see here.

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