|  NEWS

Italy’s government has unveiled plans to bring an end to Covid restrictions over two years since the pandemic hit, despite cases once again increasing.

Covid health certificates proving vaccination or recovery status will no longer be required to enter a number of venues such as restaurants, gyms and on public transport, as from 1st May. The need for anyone over 50 to be vaccinated to enter their workplace will also end on 1st April.

In addition, the state of emergency will expire on 31st March, Reuters reports. From that date, the board of experts acting as advisers to the government on Covid, will be disbanded.

"These are important measures that remove almost all the curbs that have restricted us," Prime Minister Mario Draghi stated during a news conference following a cabinet meeting.

"I would also like to thank all Italians for their altruism and patience over the years. We are often perceived as having little sense of civic duty, but instead we have done very well in this pandemic. We should be proud," he added.

Italy was the first Western country to be severely impacted by the crisis, registering 13,645,834 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, and 157,442 fatalities, the eight highest in the world.

Since the beginning of March, Covid cases have been on the rise again.  The Prime Minister stated the restrictions will be reintroduced again if necessary, yet he conveyed his confidence in vaccine numbers.

Around 84% of people in Italy have received two doses of the vaccine, with 65% having received a third booster shot.

Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said there is currently no evidence to indicate a fourth jab may be needed. That said, the government is contemplating giving them to elderly citizens.

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