Italy on Monday made changes to the country’s coronavirus quarantine rules, reducing to 10 from 14 days the minimum quarantine period for people who test positive for the virus or have been in contact with COVID-19 patient.
The change mirrors similar reductions adopted by other European countries and responds to calls from people forced to quarantine, who found it very difficult to remain isolated for two weeks.
In addition, the scientific committee ruled that only one swab test is now sufficient to exit quarantine, instead of two.
The committee was urgently summoned by the government, as Italy is registering a worrying surge in the numbers of new infections, topping 5,000 a day in the past week.
Despite being still far from the second wave observed in other countries — like Spain, France and the UK — Italy’s rising trend in infections has pushed the government to consider stricter restrictions.
The Cabinet is expected to meet as soon as this evening to approve a new decree — including curfews for nightclubs, restrictions on drinking outside bars, and limitations in the size of private parties and social gatherings.
Italy Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the country needed to add restrictions if it wanted to avoid a new national lockdown.
“Now we need a change of pace and to intervene with measures that could allow us to put the contagion under control and avoid tougher measures later on,” he said on Sunday in a TV interview.
Italy on Friday topped 5,000 new cases in a day for the first time since March. Daily infections were again above 5,000 on Saturday and Sunday. The number of people hospitalized in intensive care units is also rising slightly.
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