Italy may have reduced its COVID19 cases from 40,000 in November to just below 15,000. But despite the progress, officials are reluctant to let non-essential travel back. Italy announced on Monday that it is extending its ban on non-essential travel in the country’s 20 regions until March 27.
Italy is one of the worst-hit by the COVID19 pandemic. It has a death toll of 95,718, which is the second-worst in Europe next to Britain, and the seventh highest in the world.
Following the UK’s example, The health ministry is looking to accelerate vaccination by instructing regions to use the available doses instead of storing them for the second shots.
Non-Essential Travel Ban Before Christmas
Italy banned non-essential travel before Christmas and is due on February 25. The ban isn’t applicable to work, health, or travel due to emergency reasons.
However, officials fear that lifting the restrictions could get them back to where they started. With newer COVID19 strains that transmit faster, officials decided to wait until COVID19 vaccinations take effect.
Italy was able to start its anti-COVID19 vaccination in December along with other EU members. Italy already administered 3.5 million shots that included the second dose.
Britain, on the other hand, moved faster than its European counterparts already giving the first dose to more than 17 million individuals.
No Visits from The Red Zone
Apart from non-essential travel, Prime Minister Mario Draghi also extended the restriction on family and friends visiting each other. Gathering of only up to two adults in another person’s home is allowed.
Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza said that “It is essential to continue with the restriction” given the variants.
Italy banned visits from areas considered to be part of the red zone. So far, no region has been classified as “red”. However, there are provinces, towns, and villages that have been classified as a red zone based on the number of COVID19 cases in the area. Regional Affairs Minister Maria Stella Gelmini called the decision of PM Draghi “timely”.