Italy extends coronavirus restrictions through April

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Coronavirus restrictions in most of Italy that closed restaurants, shops and museums through Easter will be extended through April, the government said on Wednesday.

But "an easing of measures" could be decided if the trend of the epidemic and the vaccination rollout warrant it, according to the decree approved late Wednesday by the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Under the new decree, schools for will remain open, and it makes vaccines for compulsory.

Anyone refusing to be vaccinating can be reassigned, where possible, in roles away from the public. If not, their pay will be suspended.

Two weeks ago, on March 15, new restrictions went into effect on three-quarters of the country. Health Minister Roberto Speranza said then that the clampdown might allow a relaxation of measures in the second half of spring.

Italy recorded 467 new deaths on Wednesday linked to COVID-19 and 23,904 new infections. Nearly 110,000 people have died in Italy since the hit the country over a year ago.

The has already tried to ensure that Italians do not congregate or travel during Easter, with the entire country considered a high-risk "red zone" over the weekend of April 3-5.

In a red zone, residents have to stay home except for work, health or other essential reasons.

Between April 7 through April 30, all of Italy's regions will be considered either "red" or "orange" zones, with the latter having slightly looser restrictions.

For the moment, no regions are considered "yellow", which would allow seated dining in restaurants until 6:00 pm and more mobility for residents.

© 2021 AFP

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