The government has approved a special measure, valid until the end of February, to reduce heating in offices, shops, factories and homes from 20 to 19 degrees. The times that heating may be turned on during the day, which vary from region to region depending on geographical location, must also be decreased by one hour a day. The measures come as Italy is suffering an unusually cold winter, but are necessary because an eight per cent fall in gas supplies arriving from Russia has made the energy situation in the country even more critical than usual. The restrictions do not apply to hospitals and nursery schools.