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COVID-19

Covid-19: Italy aims to vaccinate 80% of the population by end of September

Italy’s goal is to have eight out of ten people vaccinated by September 30th, stated emergency commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo.

Covid-19: Italy aims to vaccinate 80% of the population by end of September
Photo: Gianluca CHININEA/AFP

The national target is “to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population by September this year, including 12-15 year olds,” Figliuolo told a parliamentary hearing on June 7th, news agency Ansa reports.

That would mean having some 54.3 million people vaccinated, he said.

CHARTS: How many people has Italy vaccinated so far?

As of Tuesday morning, Italy has some 13 million people fully vaccinated according to the latest official data.

The country has administered more than 38 million doses of Covid vaccines overall, with almost one in four people in Italy (24 percent) having received at least one dose.

The commissioner did not clarify in his comments whether he was talking about having this number fully vaccinated with both doses (or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or having had a single dose administered by that date.

Figliuolo added: “We must not waste anything in terms of resources, people, and time. Italy has everything, we just need to know how to put it together in a coordinated manner.”

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He said that to reach the September target, Italy would need to keep vaccinating at an average rate of half a million doses per day and would need to continue to prioritise people in older and at-risk categories.

Italian local health authorities were allowed to begin offering vaccine appointments to all over-12s from Thursday, June 3rd, though only a handful of regional authorities were immediately able to extend their campaign to all age groups.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for use on 12-15- year-olds, while the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently considering approving the use of Moderna’s vaccine on adolescents.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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