Three of Italy’s 20 regions and autonomous provinces were moved to the low-restriction “white zones” following an ordinance issued by Health Minister Roberto Speranza based on epidemiological data showing that the pandemic is slowing down.
The three “white” regions are Friuli Venezia Giulia, the island of Sardinia, and Molise, Xinhua news agency reported.
The rest of the country is designated as a moderate-risk “yellow zone”.
Under “white zone” rules there is no curfew and no restrictions on the opening hours of bars and restaurants.
People can eat and drink indoors as well as outdoors.
In the “yellow zones”, people can eat and drink outdoor settings only and there is an 11 p.m. curfew.
In all zones, people are still required to wear face masks both indoors and outdoors, and to observe safe physical distancing.
In a bid to contain the second wave of the pandemic, the Italian government last year divided the country into four colour-coded zones – “white” (almost zero risk), “yellow” (low risk), “orange” (medium risk) and “red” (high risk) – with varying restrictions according to the level of transmission of the virus.
The Health Minister reviews the incidence rate for coronavirus and other epidemiological data on a weekly basis and decides restriction rules based on those numbers.
The decision to move three regions into the “white zone” on Monday came after the weekly monitoring report for May 17-23 showed that “the pressure on hospitals is decreasing and is below the critical threshold in all regions/autonomous provinces”.
However, the report also warned that “the pandemic must be managed with caution” due to the “now prevalent circulation in Italy of the variant first identified in the UK and the presence of other strains that can partially evade immune responses”.
Till date, a total of 34,470,841 people have received at least one Covid vaccine dose, while 11,871,163 others were been fully inoculated, according to the Ministry of Health.
Italy has so far reported 4,217,821 coronavirus cases and 126,128 deaths.