The last few Covid restrictions in Italy are set to be relaxed on 15th June, notably the obligation to wear masks on all modes of public transportation.
However, the government is yet to make a decision on lifting or keeping this particular restriction, due to rising infection cases.
Italy’s approach to lifting Covid restrictions has been subtle but mask mandates in concert halls, theatres, healthcare scenes, indoor sporting events, cinemas, and public transport remain.
All restrictions were earlier scheduled to end on 15th June in every sector except healthcare and schools according to the roadmap of the health ministry which predicts a drop in all restrictions before summer kicks off. This is in line with the mid-May EU mandate.
However, the Italian government can change plans as the deadline draws near, based on Covid indicators all over the nation like hospital admissions and infection rates. The health ministry has not said with certainty what will reverse and when it will.
“We can remove the mask mandate from theatres and cinemas, but we will think about it for public transportation.” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced in May.
Speranza supports compulsory mask regulations while other ministers in the cabinet want it removed to boost tourism recovery.
According to Italian media, if the mask requirement is sustained, authorities are considering allowing travellers to use ordinary surgical masks instead of the FFP2 masks currently required by law. The decision on mask-wearing on international flights is still uncertain.
Individual airlines will decide whether to allow passengers to wear masks or not. It’s also unclear if the government will drop regulations on isolation and quarantine for people that test positive for the virus.
Following Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the government is expected to confirm regulator changes. However, mask mandates in schools during coming exams are anticipated to be determined by Monday.
Speranza’s conclusion may be impacted by the current increase in the infection rate, which is now apparent in fourteen of Italy’s twenty-one regions and independent provinces.
The declining infection rates are reversing with a recent rise in cases from 15,000 weekly average the previous week to the current 21,000 average in recent week.
New fears of increasing infections in Milan and other cities persist with the recent daily spike in verified infections from two hundred and one to 1,095 in a week.
The number of patients admitted to hospitals and mortality rate is yet to rise at the moment, although a spike in death rates usually follows a few weeks after the number of infections rises.
The Covid subvariant BA.5 is to blame for the new spike in infections in Germany, Portugal, and Italy. The Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS) believes it spreads faster and bypasses vaccine immunity.
About 13% of new Covid cases in Italy are blamed on BA.5.