UPDATED: Italy set to tighten COVID curbs to rein in infections -statement

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Italy is planning to tighten restrictions to try to curb a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, including making mask wearing mandatory outdoors again, the prime minister’s office said on Thursday.

Among other measures that look set to be approved when the cabinet meets later in the day will be an order making it compulsory to wear the more protective Ffp2 face masks in public spaces such as theatres, cinemas and at sports events.

The statement said the government was also considering closing discos and clubs up until New Year’s Eve.

The validity of COVID-19 health certificates, which give access to an array of places and services, will be cut to six months from nine months.

In addition, the government is reviewing whether to speed up third booster shots, seen as the most effective shield against the infectious Omicron variant, cutting the waiting time after the second vaccine to four months from five.

Italy registered 36,293 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday — the highest level in more than a year and more than double the number just two days ago. However, the number of people in intensive care remained much lower than in the winter of 2020. 

Photo – A woman wearing a face mask walks in front of a shop window offering bargains during a pre-Christmas window shopping walk in Milan, Italy. EPA-EFE/DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

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