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HEALTH

Italian PM wins backing to extend state of emergency

Italy's current state of emergency looks set to be extended until October after the Senate gave its backing on Tuesday.

Italian PM wins backing to extend state of emergency
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Photo: AFP
The Italian government is hoping to extend the current state of emergency, which expires on July 31st, until mid-October, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the Senate before the vote on Tuesday.
 
“The virus continues to evolve and has not run its course. It would be incongruous to abruptly suspend such an effective measure,” Conte he told the Senate in Tuesday’s debate.
 
 
Despite criticism from opposition parties, Conte's move won the backing of the Senate. The lower house, where the government enjoys a bigger backing, will vote on the measure on Wednesday.
 
After weeks of deliberation his cabinet agreed to extend the state of emergency until October. A resolution being drafted by parliament on Tuesday sets the extension date at October 15th, the Ansa news agency reported.
 
Conte said the extension was “inevitable”, adding “this way the country will be safer”.
 
“Although the contagion curve and the impact (of Covid-19) on the national health service has reduced significantly, and this encourages us, the figures tell us that the virus continues to circulate in our country,” Conte said.
 
 
 
The state of emergency, brought in at the beginning of the outbreak in Italy, has allowed the government to implement emergency measures quickly through a series of decrees.
 
Extending the period will allow the government “to extend the necessary measures” and “to remain on guard in order to intervene promptly if there is a worsening of the situation,” Conte explained.
 
The extension of the state of emergency does not automatically mean that rules put in place under the current emergency decree, valid until July 31st, will be extended.
 
The current rules, including travel restrictions and the current social distancing and mask-wearing requirements, will be reviewed by ministers as an updated decree is expected to be announced in the coming days.
 
 
More than 35,000 people have died from coronavirus in Italy, the first country hit by the global health crisis after China, and more than 246,000 people have been infected.

In May, as rates of infection began to decline, Italy started easing a strict lockdown introduced in early March, which had closed most shops and businesses and restricted the movement of people.

 

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HEALTH

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.

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