Italy likely to extend state of emergency due to coronavirus crisis, says Prime Minister
"The possible extension simply means that we are in a position to continue taking the necessary measures" to face the epidemic," said the Italian Prime Minister.
Italy will likely extend a state of emergency beyond its current deadline of July 31 due to the new coronavirus crisis, the country's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday.
"The possible extension simply means that we are in a position to continue taking the necessary measures" to face the epidemic, Conte said, speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony in Venice.
Italy declared a six-month state of emergency at the end of January, allowing the government to cut through red tape quickly if needed, after two Chinese tourists tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first cases detected in the country.
The country, has meanwhile, banned arrivals from 13 "at-risk" countries. Health Minister Roberto Speranza says the pandemic is in its most acute phase so no-one is allowed in from countries including Armenia, Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova and Peru.
Earlier this week, a new regulation was introduced in Italy's northeastern region of Veneto under which people who test positive for the coronavirus but refuse hospital treatment could face a prison sentence.
The order by Governor Luca Zaia says that until the end of July hospitals must tell the public prosecutor's office of anyone refusing admission after testing positive.
Anyone returning to Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, must also be given two compulsory swab tests, Monday's regional order says if they are returning from a business trip outside the European Union or a non-Schengen country.
Under Italian law, anyone who negligently spreads an epidemic risks a prison sentence up to 12 years, while anyone who does so wilfully may face up to life imprisonment.
"It is a way to partially compensate the national law that does not require isolation upon return from a non-EU country if the stay abroad lasts up to five days", Zaia said during a news briefing which was streamed via Facebook.
Zaia's order says that the person's employer faces a penalty of 1,000 euros multiplied by the number of its employees, if it does not enforce the rule.