Health experts urged the Italian government on Monday to relax COVID-19 quarantine rules, saying that the country otherwise risked paralysis as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads.
Under current rules, people who have come into close contact with a COVID-19 sufferer have to self-isolate for seven days if they are vaccinated and for 10 days if they have not had a shot.
Nino Cartabellotta, head of the Gimbe health foundation, said each positive person had, on average, five to 10 close contacts, and predicted that within two weeks some one million people in Italy might have come down with COVID-19.
“That would mean there could be five to 10 million contacts to be sent to quarantine, and this is not possible,” Cartabellotta told Radio Cusano Campus.
Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist, echoed his comment: “It’s clear that at this stage and with this diffusion of Omicron, we must consider changes in the way we intervene, otherwise we’re heading for a generalised lockdown.”
Italy registered a surge of infections at the end of last week, posting three successive days of record new daily cases, which peaked at 54,762 on Saturday.