Italy extends curbs until end April end

People sit at a restaurant in Trastevere after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions were eased in Lazio region, Rome, Italy

Italy has extended a number of coronavirus-related restrictions until the end of April, the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced after a meeting.

However, the state wants to reopen schools for younger children after Easter, dpa news reported.

In addition, a new decree passed by the cabinet provides for compulsory vaccination for many workers in the medical field and in other parts of the healthcare system.

Employees in hospitals and pharmacies who refuse to be vaccinated are to be assigned other tasks that do not pose a risk of infection.

Children up to the sixth grade should return to classrooms – even in the particularly affected so-called red zones.

Italy also aims to gradually end distance learning for older pupils.

The decree applies from April 7.

Many regulations, such as the extended restrictions on freedom of movement, will run until April 30.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, the Italian Cabinet also gave the green light for plans to ban cruise ships from the area around Venice’s city centre.

The cabinet said that proposals should be sought out for the construction of berths for large passenger ships and container ships some distance away from historic sites.

A corresponding decree stipulates that large ships must dock outside the Venetian lagoon, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said.

This will also meet requirements from Unesco.

Cruise ships in Venice have been a source of controversy for years.

Critics say that giant tourist vessels are an eyesore and an environmental threat, and contribute to tourist overcrowding; their defenders point out that the industry brings jobs to the city.

As of Thursday, Italy has reported a total of 3,584,899 coronavirus cases and 109,346 deaths.

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