Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Italy’s COVID deaths rise as government readies curbs

New measures may include ban on take-away drinks to avoid huge gatherings outside bars

Giada Zampano   | 12.01.2021
Italy’s COVID deaths rise as government readies curbs ( Carlo Bressan - Anadolu Agency )

ROME 

Italy reported 448 new coronavirus-related deaths Monday, up from 361 a day before, as the government studied new measures to avert a third wave of the contagion.

The Health Ministry also reported 12,532 new infections, down from 18,627 on Sunday, but the data reflected the much lower number of swab tests performed over the weekend.

The government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met regional representatives Monday to agree on new anti-COVID restrictions that will be imposed from Jan. 16. But final approval of the decree containing the new measures is not expected before Thursday.

Among the rules being discussed by the government is a new ban on taking away beverages and food from bars after 6 p.m. to avoid dangerous get-togethers at the time of “aperitivo,” a drink/light meal that takes place at the end of the workday as a kind of warmup to dinner that is a very popular habit among young Italians.

Meanwhile, the country reached more than 650,000 people vaccinated against COVID-19, still the highest number of doses administered in the EU.

The vaccination campaign, however, continued to advance at different paces from region to region. On Sunday, the southern Campania region complained that it had finished the available doses only after two weeks from the start of the campaign.

Domenico Arcuri, Italy’s special commissioner for emergency viruses, reassured regional governors that the distribution of new doses was ready to start on Monday.

Italy is also expected to receive on Tuesday the first 47,000 doses produced by US company Moderna.

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