Health experts say Italy faces paralysis under quarantine rules

ROME, Dec 27 (Reuters) – Health experts on Monday urged the Italian government to ease COVID-19 quarantine rules, saying the country otherwise risked coming to a standstill as the highly infectious variant of Omicron spreads. spread.

Under current rules, people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 must self-isolate for seven days if vaccinated and for 10 days if they have not been vaccinated.

Nino Cartabellotta, head of the Gimbe health foundation, said each positive person had, on average, five to 10 close contacts, and predicted that in two weeks around one million people in Italy may have contracted COVID- 19.

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“That would mean that there could be 5 to 10 million contacts to be sent to quarantine, and that’s not possible,” Cartabellotta told Radio Cusano Campus.

Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist, echoed his comment: “It is clear that at this stage and with this spread of Omicron, we must consider changes in the way we intervene, otherwise we are heading towards generalized containment. .”

INFECTIONS

Italy recorded a spike in infections late last week, posting three successive days of record new daily cases, which peaked at 54,762 on Saturday.

The government tightened restrictions last Thursday to curb rising infections, including banning all public New Year celebrations and closing discos and nightclubs until January 31 in a bid to prevent mass socializing . Read more

The government’s COVID-19 commissioner, Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, told reporters that health officials were considering revamping quarantine rules.

Some politicians have said fully vaccinated people should not be quarantined if they show no symptoms. There have also been demands that any future restrictions only target those who refuse to be vaccinated.

“If there are restrictions to impose, it should be on the anti-vaccine ones,” said former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Government figures show that almost 80% of all Italians have completed a first round of vaccination, while 29% have received a third vaccine, considered the best protection against Omicron.

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Reporting by Crispian Balmer Editing by Gareth Jones

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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