Covid-19: Italy extends regional travel ban until end of March

Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet on Monday approved a decree extending the existing ban on travel between all regions until March 27th.

Covid-19: Italy extends regional travel ban until end of March
Only essential travel is allowed between Italy's regions. Photo: AFP
The ban, part of nationwide restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, was brought in by the past government and had been set to expire on Thursday.
The government also extended restrictions on visiting friends and relatives, under which no more than two adults can visit another person's home.
“It is essential to continue with the restrictions with the (spread of coronavirus) variants,” said Italy's health minister, Roberto Speranza.
The inter-regional travel ban was due to expire on February 25th, after it had already been extended once this month.

The ban applies to all non-essential travel between all regions, regardless of which zone they are in under Italy's tiered system of coronavirus restrictions.

The regional travel ban does not apply to travel for work, health or emergency reasons, or to anyone who needs to travel to return home.

Travel within Italy for tourism remains prohibited.

The government also extended a rule under which no more than two adults (plus their children under 14) can visit another household, and no more than once a day. However the rule has not been extended for areas declared red zones, meaning visits will no longer be allowed in those areas.

READ ALSO: How will Italy's Covid-19 strategy change under the new government?

Further changes to the Italian coronavirus restrictions are set to be confirmed by March 5th, when an updated emergency decree is due.

Regional Affairs Minister Maria Stella Gelmini stated on Monday that Draghi's government would make “timely” decisions on coronavirus restrictions in agreement with regional governments.

The new government last week provoked an outcry when it extended the closure of ski slopes just hours before they were due to reopen.

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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.