Italy’s cities are subject to new restrictions amid the escalation of Corona virus infections

Italy’s cities are subject to new restrictions amid the escalation of Corona virus infections

Rome Twenty small towns in the autonomous province of South Tyrol in northern Italy were partially closed on Wednesday in an effort to contain rising infections with the Corona virus and save the main winter tourism season in one of the least vaccinated regions in Italy.

Restrictions in towns north of Bolzano include closing bars and restaurants after 6 p.m., a nighttime curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and a requirement to wear an FFP2 face mask on public transport, according to the decree.

The independent German-speaking county in the Dolomite Mountains has its newly closed border with Austria and has long had a certain liberating sentiment. South Tyrol has been ranked among the least vaccinated provinces in Italy during the pandemic, scoring 5-10 percentage points behind the national average in younger age groups.

The county’s governor, Arno Kombacher, said he was proactively enforcing the restrictions, until at least December 7, to try to prevent a blanket shutdown and rescue a vital skateboarding industry that has already lost the past two seasons to COVID-19.

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The 20 cities met the new regional criteria requiring restrictions: more than 800 cases per 100,000 residents per week, more than five new cases per day, and a vaccination rate of less than 70% of the population over the age of 12.

Italy, where the outbreak in Europe began in February 2020, has vaccinated more than 84% of its population over the age of 12. Italy is seeing a rise in infections as in other Western European countries, but to a greater degree, with around 10,000 new cases and less than 100 deaths per day.

But the rise nonetheless sparked proposals for restrictions on unvaccinated people to prevent a lockdown that could hamper an economic restart after Italy’s gross domestic product shrank 8.9% last year.

Suggestions include revamping Italy’s “green corridor” by restricting access to museums, indoor restaurants and cinemas only to people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. Currently unvaccinated people can access such places using the “green corridor” from a negative test.

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