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HEALTH

Covid-19: What can you do this Easter in lockdown Italy?

As the whole of Italy moves into a red zone from Saturday for three days, Italian authorities step up their police presence. Here's what you can still do legally over the Easter weekend.

Covid-19: What can you do this Easter in lockdown Italy?
Easter eggs on sale in Rome. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Just over a year since Italy was first hit by the outbreak of Covid-19, people in Italy are now facing a second Easter in lockdown.

The decision came to limit movements and gatherings during a national holiday that normally sees Italians visit friends and family or make trips to the seaside.

EXPLAINED:

In a bid to control movement during the Easter weekend, Italian authorities have placed the whole country in the harshest of Covid-19 restrictions, moving every region into a ‘red’ zone.

To bolster lockdown efforts, the Ministry of the Interior has called for increased security, including deploying an extra 70,000 police officers to patrol areas at high risk of assemblies. Those spaces include parks, urban areas, coastlines, roads, train stations, ports and airports.

Italy’s Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, defined the surveillance as “rigorous” but balanced during a meeting at the National Committee for Order and Security on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Italy to remain in partial lockdown until end of April

The current orange or red restrictions are in force until midnight on Friday, after which, the whole of Italy will be placed under red zone restrictions for the days of April 3-5th.

‘Red zone’ over Easter for all of Italy

The usual rules for a red zone include a complete ban on moving between municipalities and moving around within your own area, unless it’s for essential reasons, by either public or private transport. You cannot travel to any private home other than your own.

Exceptions are made to this rule over the Easter weekend, however. From April 3rd-5th, you can travel within your region to visit friends and relatives, once a day between 5am and 10pm.

No more than two adults, plus children under 14, should travel together at once.

READ ALSO: 12 Italian Easter foods you have to try at least once

Restaurants and bars are closed to diners, though they can continue to offer takeaway or home delivery.

All cultural sites, including museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, are shut.

In red zones, shops are closed except for those deemed essential, which include supermarkets and other food shops, tabacchi (tobacconists/newsagents), and pharmacies. Children’s clothes shops are also open.

Religious services can continue to take place, with social distancing and other precautions.

Chocolate bunnies in Switzerland
Photo: Stefan Wermuth / AFP

Hairdressers and beauticians will be closed. 

All team sports activities are suspended. Solo exercise such as running or walking is allowed.

Travel to a second home is allowed only if you can prove you had the right to enter the property (as owner or tenant) before January 14th 2021.

This means new short-term rentals are not allowed, and you can’t stay with relatives: “The house of destination must not be inhabited by people not belonging to the family unit”, according to the health ministry. 

Some regions have placed their own restrictions on visits from non-residents over Easter.

READ ALSO: ‘Don’t come’: Italian regions seek to stop second-home owners visiting

Apart from this exception for second homes, Italy has a nationwide travel ban on all non-essential journeys between regions. Whichever zone they’re in, people are only supposed to leave their own region for urgent reasons like work or medical emergencies.

Italy also has a national curfew in place every night between 10pm and 5am.

If you need to leave the house between these hours, or travel between towns or regions, or within a red zone, you should be prepared to fill in a self-declaration form justifying the reasons for your trip. 

Please note The Local is not able to advise on specific situations.  For more information on the restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

  1. Total contradiction! No wonder people are confused: ….

    “The current orange or red restrictions are in force until midnight on Friday, after which, the whole of Italy will be placed under red zone restrictions for the days of April 3-5th.

    ‘Red zone’ over Easter for all of Italy

    The usual rules for a red zone include a complete ban on moving between municipalities and moving around within your own area, unless it’s for essential reasons, by either public or private transport. You cannot travel to any private home other than your own.

    Exceptions are made to this rule over the Easter weekend, however. From April 3rd-5th, you can travel within your region to visit friends and relatives, once a day between 5am and 10pm.

    No more than two adults, plus children under 14, should travel together at once.”

    Andrew Chmielewski

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Italy’s deputy health minister under fire after casting doubt on Covid vaccines

Opposition leaders called for health undersecretary Marcello Gemmato to resign on Tuesday after the official said he was not "for or against" vaccines.

Italy's deputy health minister under fire after casting doubt on Covid vaccines

Gemmato, a pharmacist and member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party, made the remark during an appearance on the political talkshow ReStart on Rai 2 on Monday evening.

READ ALSO: Covid vaccines halved Italy’s death toll, study finds

In a widely-shared clip, the official criticises the previous government’s approach to the Covid pandemic, claiming that for a large part of the crisis Italy had the highest death rate and third highest ‘lethality’ rate (the proportion of Covid patients who died of the disease).

When journalist Aldo Cazzullo interjects to ask whether the toll would have been higher without vaccines, Gemmato responds: “that’s what you say,” and claimed: “We do not have the reverse burden of proof.”

The undersecretary goes on to say that he won’t “fall into the trap of taking a side for or against vaccines”.

After Gemmato’s comments, the president of Italy’s National Federation of Medical Guilds, Filippo Anelli, stressed that official figures showed the Italian vaccination campaign had already prevented some 150,000 deaths, slashing the country’s potential death toll by almost half.

Vaccines also prevented eight million cases of Covid-19, over 500,000 hospitalisations, and more than 55,000 admissions to intensive care, according to a report from Italy’s national health institute (ISS) in April 2021.

Gemmato’s comments provoked calls for him to step down, including from the head of the centre-left Democratic Party, Enrico Letta.

“A health undersecretary who doesn’t take his distance from no-vaxxers is certainly in the wrong job” wrote the leader of the centrist party Action, Carlo Calenda, on Twitter.

Infectious disease expert Matteo Bassetti of Genoa’s San Martino clinic also expressed shock.

“How is it possible to say that there is no scientific proof that vaccines have helped save the lives of millions of people? You just have to read the scientific literature,” Bassetti tweeted. 

In response to the backlash, Gemmato on Tuesday put out a statement saying he believes “vaccines are precious weapons against Covid” and claiming that his words were taken out of context and misused against him.

The Brothers of Italy party was harshly critical of the previous government’s approach to handling the Covid crisis, accusing the former government of using the pandemic as an excuse to “limit freedom” through its use of the ‘green pass’, a proof of vaccination required to access public spaces. 

But since coming into power, Meloni appears to have significantly softened her stance.

Her appointee for health minister, Orazio Schillaci, is a medical doctor who formed part of the team advising the Draghi administration on its handling of the pandemic.

Schillaci, a former dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at Rome’s Tor Vergata University, has described the former government’s green pass scheme as an “indispensable tool for guaranteeing safety in university classrooms”.

Speaking at a session of the G20 on Tuesday, Meloni referenced the role of vaccines in bringing an end to the Covid pandemic.

“Thanks to the extraordinary work of health personnel, vaccines, prevention, and the accountability of citizens, life has gradually returned to normal,’ the prime minister said in a speech.

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