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Italy faces more rules over Christmas in its fight against coronavirus

·2 min read

Italians are preparing themselves for a very different Christmas due to newly announced restrictions to combat the coronavirus. But a recent survey has revealed that the public is largely in favour of the limitations being adopted to personal freedom – if it is in aid of protecting public safety.

Nearly 60 percent of those who participated in the Cencis survey accepted that the government should decide “when and under what conditions they can leave their houses, what they can or cannot do, who they can see and where” to protect the health of the Italian population.

Nearly 80 percent said they were in favour of tough curbs at Christmas time.

A new emergency decree signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took effect on Friday and will remain valid until January 15.

Italy’s regions have been divided into three different colours according to the level Covid-19 infections and risk, with red being the most dangerous, then orange and yellow.

Only in yellow regions are bars and restaurants allowed to be open for regular service. In the other regions, they are only allowed to be open for take-away service.

In a press conference outlining the new restrictions over the Christmas season to avoid another surge in coronavirus infections, Conte said that Italy was obtaining good results thanks to already existing measures, but this was no time for complacency and that new ruled were required.

“The measures we’re adopting are adequate and proportional to the level of risk, without being unnecessary penalised”, he said. “We have avoided a nationwide lockdown but now, near Christmas, we must not let our guard down.”

Christmas midnight mass, which is very popular with Italians, has been banned and the prime minister has urged his fellow countrymen to refrain from inviting guests to their homes during the festivities.

Italians are banned from leaving their towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Movement between Italy’s 20 regions is also banned from December 21 to January 6 unless a person can show they are travelling for their job, a health issue or an emergency.

Ski resorts will be closed until January 6 and cruises have been banned over the holiday period.

“There is still a long way to go until we're out of the pandemic,” said Conte. “We must avert a third wave, which could arrive as early as January and be no less violent than the first wave.”

From December 10-21, residents returning to Italy from other EU countries will need to take a Covid-19 test before travelling and show the negative result on arrival. From December 21 to January 6, anyone arriving in Italy including from EU countries must quarantine for two-weeks.