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Italy May Be Heading to Another National Lockdown

It would likely mean the end of any chance of ski resorts opening this Spring. Some resorts have already called it a day with new restrictions introduced this week as cases surge.

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This week Italy passed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths since the pandemic started over a year ago.

It is currently seeing 237 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Last week it was 192.

In Italy hospital intensive care units are again coming under pressure and the government is now considering increased nationwide restrictions, from extending the current evening curfew to a national lockdown.

“With these numbers we need stricter measures,” said the Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio.

“There is no alternative to stricter measures.”

Some of Italy’s senior medical and scientific experts have said another lockdown is “urgently’ needed.

The country’s Scientific Technical Committee, CTS,  is also urging more stringent restrictions.

54% of all cases in Italy are now caused by the so-called English variant

This variant is able to spread 35-40% faster than the original strain.

On Monday the ski resorts in the region of Veneto joined those in Lombardy and Piedmont in the the so-called “Orange Level’.

The huge ski area of Super Dolomiti announced it would not be opening this winter.

“One year has passed since that day that the lockdown changed our all lives forever. 10 March 2020 was the day when all the lifts, all the accommodation facilities, huts and shops in our ski destination were shut,” said the Dolomiti Superski region this week.

“And now, one year later, we had to communicate that the winter season 20/21 would not even start. Who would have thought in March of last year that one year later we would still not be able to ski, move freely and that the fight against the pandemic would not yet be over?”

“The situation is still surreal, yet we do not give up and believe in a beautiful summer to live in safety and with ease and therefore we continue our path and with the strength and support of you all and our common passion we will make it.”

Dolomiti Superski, Italy

Dolomiti Superski, Italy

The Aosta Valley remains in ‘Yellow Zone’ with resorts still closed.

The Italian health minister, Roberto Speranza, said more ‘Red Zones’ are likely to be declared across the country on Friday under the current system of regional and local measures.

“We’re monitoring the curve and checking which measures are most appropriate,” he said on Monday.

“I expect the variants to have an impact and that more regions will go red.”

As cases rise an opinion poll said 44% of Italians would back a strict lockdown – two weeks ago it was 30%.

At least 54% of all cases in Italy are now caused by the so-called English variant

This variant is able to spread 35-40% faster than the original strain.

According to reports in the Italian media the government is considering 5 options:

  1. National lockdown

The most extreme measure being considered is a complete lockdown of up to four weeks. This could look similar to the lockdown in Spring 2020 – with restrictions that go further than the current ‘red zone’ rules – or the country could alternatively be placed under ‘orange zone’ restrictions.

  1. Automatic local lockdowns

Another option being considered is to have local authorities required to declare red zones when an area exceeds 250 new positives per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. At the moment, the March emergency decree gives regional governors the right to close schools if this parameter is exceeded.

  1. Weekend lockdowns

Alternatively, ministers may decide to announce a tough lockdown on weekends only, much like the ‘red days’ system used at Christmas and New Year – which experts widely credit with Italy having avoided a spike in new cases immediately after the holidays.

  1. ‘Orange’ zones at weekends

A less drastic version of a weekend lockdown would mean the closure of bars and restaurants and a ban on leaving your municipality, but open shops at weekends.

  1. Earlier curfew

The government is reportedly considering bringing the current 10pm evening curfew forward to 7pm or 8pm. In France, the nationwide curfew currently starts at 6pm.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be monitoring the situation and updating as decisions are announced.

Alta Badia, Italy

Alta Badia, Italy

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