Packed parks, lurking virus? Worries mount as Italy reopens | Your Cash

MILAN (AP) – Italy’s gradual reopening on Monday after six months of rotating virus locks is not satisfying anyone: too cautious for some, too hasty for others.

It’s too late to eat too much outdoors for Italy’s restaurant owners, whose survival has been threatened by more than a year of recurring closings. The country’s ongoing 10pm curfew is dampening the theater’s reopening and is seen as poor public relations for Italy’s main tourism industry, which is hoping overseas visitors can finally return in the second summer of the pandemic. The government has also faced strong pressure to reopen from Italy’s right-wing parties.

However, the country’s tired virologists and medical workers fear that even the provisional reopening planned by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government will invite a jack-of-all-trades who risks a new virus surge before the current one is really suppressed.

“Unfortunately, as I have had to repeat many times: the virus does not negotiate. In addition, the virus has managed to adapt, become more aggressive and widespread, ”said Professor Massimo Galli from Sacco Hospital in Milan.

In a preview of what many fear, Italians crowded the streets, squares and parks of cities from Rome to Turin, Milan to Naples on Sunday – a day before virus restrictions were eased – as the warmer weather made an unusually cold one Spring pushed aside.

The Italian Interior Ministry recognized the risks and on Sunday directed law enforcement officers to ensure social distancing and the wearing of masks are enforced so that the easing of restrictions does not lead to a new virus spike.

Italy has the second deadliest pandemic in Europe after the UK with over 119,000 confirmed deaths. And experts say the number is low because more Italians suspected of having COVID-19 died in the spring of 2020 before they could be tested.

By Monday, 15 of Italy’s 21 regions and autonomous provinces will have the lowest coronavirus restrictions. For the first time since autumn, interregional travel is allowed. The number of people who can visit friends and family at the same time doubles from two to four. In restaurants and bars, people can dine al fresco. Contact sports can be resumed outdoors.

However, plans to fully reopen Italian high schools in the last six weeks of the school year ran into inadequate public transport and had to be reduced to at least 70% of personal school attendance for the upper grades.

Four southern regions – Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia and Sicily – as well as tiny Aosta on the French border in the north continue to be subject to stronger second-tier virus restrictions.

The Italian island of Sardinia – the only region completely free of restrictions this winter – was plunged into the red zone in mid-April after the all-clear signal led to a surge in new infections. Sardinia has become a cautionary story quoted by Italian virologists.

The reopening will take place even if the intensive care units in Italy remain above the alarm threshold of 30%. Italy’s vaccination campaign is also still far from its target of 500,000 shots a day and is only now trying to protect people between the ages of 70 and 79. The World Health Organization says people over 65 caused the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in Europe.

“There are two words that should guide us in the next few days,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Sunday. Trust, because the measures worked, and be careful. We have to take it step by step, take it step by step and evaluate the development day by day. “

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