Expecting a second wave of coronavirus, Italy extends its state of emergency to October 15

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Dealing with lingering cases of Covid-19, while anticipating a possible second wave in the fall months, Italy’s lawmakers voted to continue the country’s state of emergency.

Scheduled to end July 31, lawmakers in Italy voted to prolong the state of emergency to mid-October. The vote is to assist the Conte Administration in cutting through red tape in executing or removing decrees dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that ravaged several northern regions just months ago.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic today is not fully over, even though its effects are more contained and geographically limited,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday.”

For months, reported coronavirus numbers have been low, but the Italian government wants to ensure that they remain. While the worst of the health crisis is over, Health Minister Roberto Speranza urges residents to maintain the mandated social distancing and wearing of masks.

Slow your rollout

Since PM Conte ended the nationwide lockdown on June 4, there has been an accelerated plan to reopen. Under the initial plan, the country would still be in a modified quarantine. With one of the strictest shut downs, PM Conte conceded to restart faster when residents and businesses began to protest restrictions and lack of financial support.

After almost two months of reinitiating the operations of the country, businesses have slowly begun to find a rhythm. Yet and still, there are some that did not make it.

As far as the health of the nation, there have been flare ups in the southern part of the country, and now cases are being reported in northern regions. In some places, the numbers have been low and even no reported deaths. Last week, The Local reported 308 new cases last with 12,404 known positive Covid-19 diagnoses.

. . . .

Under the state of emergency, tourism from some of Italy’s key markets is banned. More notedly, US tourism is shut down. However, in April, Italians overwhelmingly expressed a priority to allow local movement and shut down strict quarantine orders, but regulate tourism to ensure the health of the country.

Italy wrote off tourism months ago, but now they grapple with the coming school year. In late June, the Conte Administration allocated €1 billion to fund the changes in the school structures. To date, it is the largest allocation the education sector experienced.

The plan for Italy is that all students will return to the classroom with the exception of high schoolers, who have the option of learning online. With those returning to school, the schedules, seating charts and curriculum have been drastically altered. More outdoor activities and reduced class sizes are notedly a center part of learning. Already taking place at summer camps and school, the educational sector will partner with local museums, parks, farms and other sites that can engage students with learning.

Overall, the hope for Italy is to temper a second-wave, if it comes; and in the future, implement a vaccine.

Kaia Shivers covers diaspora, news and features.

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