The virus in Italy is advancing at breakneck speed, but for the moment its Government crosses its fingers and is not willing to take drastic measures that suggest the arrival of a new confinement. The Prime Minister of this country, Giuseppe Conte, appeared this Sunday to announce new restrictions to stop the increase in infections but did not report a curfew at 10 p.m., as the Italian media had been predicting for days, but limited itself to announcing small changes to the decree approved the previous week. The most prominent is that it will allow mayors close squares or streets where it is usual that crowds are generated during the night in large Italian cities.
“We must work to protect health but also the economy, with proportionality ”, Conte said in an expected appearance at Palazzo Chigi, headquarters of the Executive. “We cannot waste time to avoid a new general confinement, the country cannot afford it,” he pleaded, asking citizens not to lower their guard and to continue to respect the rules.
Change of strategy
“We must work to protect health but also the economy, with proportionality “, says the premier
Italy, which until not long ago was viewed with envy by its European partners for its containment of the pandemic, this Sunday has registered 11,705 new cases of coronavirus. The incidence rate is rising dangerously, and there are already 132.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fourteen days, which however is a much lower number than those counted in Spain (312.4) or France (388, 8), according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Hospitals are not saturated yet, but there are already 750 people in intensive care, 45 more than on Saturday.
The head of the Government admits that the situation “is critical”, but has decided change strategy and do everything possible to prevent the economic fabric of the country from suffering. That Italy cannot face the pandemic as it did in the first wave, because the consequences for its companies would be devastating. “At the beginning of the epidemic we did not have masks, we could not do tests, and there was not enough space in intensive units. In these months we have worked intensively, we have hired more than 34,000 health personnel, we have more than doubled the ICUs and every day we produce more than 20 million masks ”, Conte defended.
Measures in hospitality
Tables of more than six people will not be allowed in restaurants
So that, no curfew nor to close restaurants before, as some experts had claimed. The measures taken are smooth. The most striking is the closure of the party areas, because from now on the Italian councilors will be able to close the busiest squares and streets of their cities from 9 pm if they detect that agglomerations are generated.
It is not the only new restriction. In hospitality, the schedule of the last decree remains – until midnight, for restaurants and bars that have table service – but with new demands: there will be a maximum of six diners per table and all premises must place a visible sign from the outside that indicates the maximum capacity allowed by the anti-Covid protocol. In addition, bars, restaurants, ice cream parlors or patisseries that do not have table service must close at 6:00 p.m., to avoid riots around them. In Italy this is very common. You just have to walk around busy squares like the one in the Monti neighborhood of Rome to see young people sitting on fountains and benches with drinks bought in bars without service.
The Government gives gyms a week to comply with the health protocol
Conte doesn’t close the gyms, as speculated, but gives them a week to adapt to the protocols against the coronavirus. It is still forbidden to organize football or basketball matches between friends, which in Italy are considered to be a high source of transmission of the virus. Regarding the schools, the Government considers that they are a national priority and wants the classes to continue to be face-to-face, although now they are going to ask the higher institutes to be more flexible with the schedules, and if possible with afternoon shifts.
In Italy these days it is repeated that they are not like in March, when it was impossible to do large-scale tests. But it is also true that today 17 of the 20 regions have more people hospitalized for the virus than at the beginning of the confinement.In the last minute of the appearance, Conte was asked about the holidays of Christmas. “I do not make forecasts,” he replied.