Covid-19 pandemic: Italy towns under new restrictions amid infection rise

Twenty small towns in northern Italy’s autonomous South Tyrol province went into a partial lockdown Wednesday to try to contain rising coronavirus infections and save the key winter tourism season in one of the least-vaccinated parts of Italy.

The restrictions in the towns north of Bolzano include the closure of bars and restaurants after 6 pm, a nighttime curfew from 8 pm to 5 am and a requirement to wear an FFP2 face mask on public transportation, according to the ordinance.

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

Italy, where Europe’s outbreak began in February 2020, has fully vaccinated more than 84% of its over-12 population. Italy is seeing a rise in infections as in other Western European countries, but to a more measured degree, recording around 10,000 new cases and fewer than 100 deaths a day.

But the rise has nevertheless sparked proposals to impose restrictions on non-vaccinated people to prevent a lockdown that would impede an economic reboot after Italy’s gross domestic product shrank 8.9% last year.

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