The Italian Government has formalised the extension of the state of emergency until October 15 to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
THE Council of Ministers last night approved the extension of the state of emergency, decreed on January 31 at the beginning of the crisis and which was to expire tomorrow, July 31.
Opposition parties had objected, accusing Conte of trying to keep too much power in his own hands despite a dramatic fall in the rate of contagion. However, the upper house Senate passed the measure by 157 votes to 125 in the 319-seat chamber. Conte announced a six-month state of emergency on January 31 when the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Rome.
“The virus continues to evolve and has not run its course. It would be incongruous to abruptly suspend such an effective measure,” Conte he told the Senate in Tuesday’s debate. However, he drew back from initial plans to seek an extension until the end of the year, saying he only wanted a renewal until mid-October.
The state of emergency gives greater powers to both regional and central government, including making it easier for ministers to declare red zones should the disease flare up again, and to bolster hospital resources.
It will also cut bureaucracy as officials prepare schools to reopen in September after being shut for six months.
Currently, in Italy, the epidemiological curve is at a minimum since the crisis broke out on February 21, with the detection of the first local infections. In recent weeks, an average of 200 infections has been registered daily. In total in the country, 246,700 infections and 35,129 fatalities have been confirmed, according to the latest data from the Civil Protection and the Ministry of Health.
However, the authorities warn that the virus is still circulating and calls for citizens not to let their guard down and to respect security measures.