Italy ends Covid-19 state of emergency after more than two years
Rome, Mar 31 (EFE).- Italy’s unprecedented state of emergency to curb the spread of Covid-19 officially ended on Thursday after over two years.
Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit by a major Covid-19 outbreak but also one of the first to impose a state of emergency.
The Covid-19 state of emergency, which allows authorities to bypass bureaucracy and impose rules via decrees such as limited mobility, was established on January 31, 2020 shortly after the detection of the first Covid-19 cases in the country.
The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic only on March 11.
GRADUAL EASING OF RESTRICTIONS
The end of the state of emergency has given Italians hopes of a return to normality this summer after over two years of the health crisis.
Restrictions, such as the Covid-19 vaccination certificate, also known as the ‘green pass’ in Italy, will be gradually eased.
From Friday, the contentious green pass will no longer be mandatory for outdoor seating but it will remain in force for indoor seating, cinemas and night venues.
The health pass will also no longer be compulsory in hotels or banks but will still be required to enter gyms and public swimming pools.
“We are relying on discipline to gradually end the green pass as of May 1,” Italy’s minister of health, Roberto Speranza, said.
A decision on ending face masks, which remain compulsory indoors, has not yet been reached.
The end of the state of emergency is also a relief for Italian businesses, who were forced to close for months on end during lockdowns.
“We will feel calmer and will try to work with serenity,” Stefano, a barber in the historic center of Rome, told Efe.
Gabriele, who runs a bar close to the Vatican, echoed that sentiment.
“We are one step ahead to returning to our normality,” he said.
Italy will also get rid of its often complex region Covid-19 color codes ranging from red, orange, yellow and white that define each region’s level of risk.
The mission of Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, the Army general in charge of the vaccination campaign in Italy, will also come to an end.
Quarantine requirements for people who have been in contact with positive Covid-19 cases will also be scrapped.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Italy has recorded 14.5 million infections and 159,224 deaths. EFE