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HEALTH

Here’s the form you need to leave the house in Italy over Christmas

As Italy is set to spend much of the holidays under tight restrictions, here's the form you'll need to travel and, on many days, simply to leave the house.

Here's the form you need to leave the house in Italy over Christmas
Photo: AFP

Similar to the forms everyone in Italy had to carry during the nationwide lockdown in spring, these slips state who you are, where you're going and why, and that you're aware of the rules in place as well as the penalties for breaking them.

The good news is that there's only one autodichiariazione, published by the Interior Ministry and valid in every region of Italy. You can download it here.

Here's what it looks like:

It's the same form that you currently need to fill out if you leave the house during the evening curfew (between 10pm-5am every day).

But with the whole of Italy classed as a 'red zone' for a total of ten days over the holidays, everyone will need it when leaving the house on those dates, according to Italy's current set of coronavirus rules.

For the ten days in which Italy is in lockdown – December 24-27th, December 31st-January 3rd, and again on January 5-6th – you should plan to leave your house only for essential reasons, like going to the supermarket or seeing a doctor.

CALENDAR: What are Italy's new Covid-19 rules over Christmas and New Year?

You can also go out once per day to visit friends and relatives within the same region – more details on that rule here.

Travel to a second home within your region is allowed.

However, when making a trip for any of these reasons on the days Italy is classed as a red zone you will need to take a completed self-certification form with you. Even if you're just going to the pharmacy, or out for a run (solo exercise “near home” is allowed under the current emergency decree).

Non-essential travel between regions is banned for the entire period December 21st-January 6th.

Travelling out of your region for work, health, emergency reasons, or to return home is permitted at all times but you will need to take the completed form with you.

You can download a copy here.

If you can't print the form, you are allowed to copy it out by hand.

Police carrying out checks on movements will also have copies of the form ready to give out.

How do you fill it out?

According to the Interior Ministry, you don't have to print and fill in an autodichiarazione in advance: if police officers stop you, they can supply you with the form and you can complete it on the spot. 

Here's the information it asks for, in order:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Town, province and address of permanent residence
  • Town, province and address of current residence (if different)
  • Type, number, issuing authority and date of issue of official ID
  • Phone number
  • Reason for travel: work; health reasons; other essential reasons (give details)
  • Place of departure
  • Destination
  • Any additional information
  • Date, time and place of police check (leave this blank until you're stopped)
  • Signature

The form should be filled out in Italian.

Make sure you take a picture of the completed form for your records before you hand it over to police. 

What happens if you don't fill out the form?
 
If you're stopped by police and don't have your form with you, the police will give you a copy and help you fill it out.
 
Either way, police are likely to want to verify your story – for example by asking for proof of any appointments, or calling your workplace or healthcare provider.
 
If you can't give a satisfactory reason for being out during curfew or at other times when movements are restricted, you could face a hefty fine. According to the Interior Ministry: “the administrative penalty ranges from 400 to 1000 euros with a 30% reduction if payment is made within 5 days (280 euros)”
 
And if you're found to have given false information on your form, you could face prosecution: “The crime of false attestation to a public official, provided for by article 495 of the criminal code, is punished with imprisonment from 1 to 6 years, in the event that in cases in which it must be presented, the self-certification given on movements is not truthful.”

READ ALSO: What you can and can't do in Italy this Christmas

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HEALTH

Q&A: What you need to know about Italy’s West Nile virus outbreak

As Italy records a surge in cases of West Nile fever, we look at what the disease is and where in the country it's spreading.

Q&A: What you need to know about Italy's West Nile virus outbreak

Mosquitos are unfortunately one downside of summer in Italy. But as well as being a nuisance, they may also pose a health risk in the country – one of the few in Europe to record cases of West Nile virus (WNV)

READ ALSO: Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Last week Italy recorded 50 more cases of the mosquito-borne virus, bringing the total number of infections to 144 according to the latest report from Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS).

This marked a 53-percent increase in cases against the previous week, while ten people have died so far.

As the number of infections continues to rise, here are the answers to the most pressing questions about the disease and the outbreak in Italy.

What is it?

The West Nile Virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that can cause West Nile fever in humans.

It’s a member of the Flavivirus family together with other endemic viruses such as the Zika and Dengue viruses.

The virus was first identified in 1937 in Uganda’s West Nile district but has since spread to many other parts of the world, to the point that it is now considered indigenous to Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. 

Carried by birds, West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes of the Culex species, which infect humans and other mammals through their bite, according to Italy’s health ministry.

There is no evidence that human-to-human transmission is possible.

Where are cases being reported in Italy?

Infections have been largely concentrated in the north of the country, especially in the Veneto region, where six people have now died of the disease. Other deaths were recorded in Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna.

The city of Padua, which is located in Veneto’s mainland, around 35 kilometres away from the Adriatic coast, is currently regarded as the hotspot of the virus. 

It isn’t yet clear why Veneto has been the worst-hit region so far, but experts fear that its marshy lowlands might be the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. 

A mosquito of the Culex species viewed under a microscope.

Mosquitoes of the Culex species, a specimen of which is pictured above, are responsible for transmitting the West Nile Virus to humans and other mammals. Photo by Jon CHERRY Getty Images / AFP

How severe is the outbreak in Italy?

West Nile virus is not new to Italy. However, this summer has brought the highest number of cases recorded yet.

National infection levels remain relatively low but the country has by far the largest number of cases in Europe.

According to the most recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), dated August 3rd, 94 out of 120 recorded cases were in Italy.

Greece had 23 reported cases. Romania and Slovakia had two and one respectively. 

Italy is the only European country that has reported fatalities.

What are the symptoms?

According to the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), around 80 percent of infected people show no symptoms whatsoever.

In symptomatic cases, however, symptoms generally resemble those of a common flu and include fever, headaches, nausea and diarrhoea. 

The infection is usually only dangerous for people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly, and the most severe symptoms occur in fewer than one percent of infected people.

In healthy people, the virus is unlikely to cause more than a headache or sore throat, and symptoms generally last only a few days.

According to the data currently available, around one in 150 infected people can show symptoms as serious as partial vision loss, convulsions and paralysis. 

In very rare cases (around 0.1 percent, or one in 1000) the disease can cause brain infections (encephalitis or meningitis) which may eventually be fatal.

Brazilian biologists handle mosquito larvae.

There is currently no vaccine against West Nile disease, though several are being tested. Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP

Is there a cure?

There is no vaccine against West Nile fever. “Currently vaccines are being studied, but for the moment prevention consists mainly in reducing exposure to mosquito bites,” the ISS states.

There is also no specific treatment for the disease caused by the virus.

Patients showing the more serious symptoms are usually admitted to hospital and treated with IV fluids and assisted ventilation.

What should you do to protect yourself?

Seeing as there is currently no vaccine against the virus, the best way to protect oneself is by reducing exposure to mosquitoes as much as possible.

Italian health authorities have listed a number of official recommendations to help residents avoid mosquito bites. These include: 

  • Use repellent
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when being outdoors and especially during ​​mosquitoes’ peak activity times, i.e. sunrise and sunset
  • Use mosquito nets on your windows or sleep in rooms with air-conditioning and keep the windows closed
  • Make sure there are no pools of stagnant water around your house

See more information about West Nile virus in Italy on the health ministry’s website.

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