On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that he will extend the duration of the national state of emergency until March 31, 2022, due to the soaring increase of COVID-19 contagions in his country, which reported 12,712 coronavirus cases and 98 related deaths in the last 24 hours.
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"If we want to control coronavirus contagions amid the Omicron strain appearance, extending the state of emergency is indispensable," Draghi stated, recalling that the council of ministers must approve the measure by decree-law.
The state of emergency authorizes the government to issue decree-laws without receiving parliamentary approval and empowers mayors to approve regional strategies that fight the pandemic. The measure also designates the Extraordinary Commissioner and the Scientific Technical Committee to advise the government on its policy to avoid disease contagions.
"Our priority is to keep the health crisis under control, advance the vaccination campaign, and prevent events that generate large concentrations," Draghi stated and urged all citizens to be cautious.
On Sunday, local Italian authorities announced that they will suspend concerts and massive events planned for the Christmas holidays. "In the current situation, we cannot allow any kind of agglomeration," Campania region President Vicenzo de Luca stressed, adding that people outside the family nucleus will not be able to gather on New Year’s Eve in his territory.
The Christmas markets will not work in the Ortisei and Selva di Val Gardena towns, and the Palermo Province's authorities suspended the New Year's Eve concert at the Politeama Square. Rome authorities are discussing whether to approve the holding of the year-end concert at the Circus Maximus, which has a capacity of 15,000 people.
"We await the latest epidemiological data to decide. Whatever decision we make, we will always prioritize our citizens' security and well-being," Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri stated.