The Italian government has introduced further social restrictions to flatten the rising Covid-19 curve across the country. The move comes in addition to the October 8 legislation, which mandated the wearing of masks outdoors unless in situations of “continuous isolation” or while playing sports.
While Italy still has a lower infection rate than its European neighbours, the regions of Campania and Lazio are experiencing increases in intensive care and hospitalization cases, and Lombardy has seen a spike in the last two days. Tuscany is also undergoing a steady rise in intensive care (40) and hospital cases (205), although the situation remains manageable compared to early in the year.
“We are seeing a growth trend, but not a huge hike like in March; that’s the first positive fact,” commented Adriano Peris, head of intensive care at Florence’s main Careggi hospital, in an interview with local newspaper Corriere Fiorentino published on October 9. “Secondly, experience tells us that, if we keep a high level of attention in terms of behaviour, namely masks and distancing, testing and breaking the chain caused by clusters through quarantining, I’m convinced that we won’t be in the same situation as we were in March and April, because we didn’t have these precautions and tools in January and February. In short, with this healthcare structure and social awareness, a new coronavirus tsunami isn’t possible.”
New Covid-19 rules as of October 13, 2020
Entering into effect on October 13 and valid for 30 days, the new legislation includes a strong recommendation for face coverings to be worn at home in the presence of guests. School trips and twinning programmes have been prohibited, as too have private parties in bars, restaurants and other public places. Another “strong recommendation” encourages restricting to a maximum of six guests into one’s home, while invitees to weddings and other ceremonies are now limited to 30.
Amateur contact sports, such as five-a-side football and basket, have been halted, but may continue at non-professional level for clubs that introduce (or have already introduced) protocols to halt Covid-19 infection.
Restaurants, pubs, bars and bakeries are obliged to close at midnight and eating at the table is required from 9pm onwards. Food businesses may continue to operate home delivery and takeaway services, but the food may not be consumed on-site or in the vicinity after 9pm where there is no seating provided.
Quarantine reduced to 10 days
The number of days spent in quarantine for those who have been in contact with positive cases has been lowered to 10 days and a negative rapid or swab test. Positive asymptomatic cases may reduce their self-isolation to 10 days and one negative swab test at the end of the quarantine, while those with symptoms must spend at least 10 days in quarantine with one negative swab test at the end of the self-isolation. These changes are explained in more depth on the Italian Health Ministry website.