Italy set to extend covid-19 state of emergency

Italy discusses extension of country's state of emergency amid rise in covid-19 cases since the summer.

Italy is set to extend the nation's state of emergency to help it tackle the coronavirus crisis, possibly until 31 January 2021, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Italy's current state of emergency, which is due to expire on 15 October, was already extended from its original end date of 31 July, despite objections from the opposition which accused premier Giuseppe Conte of trying to keep too much power.

The government is now considering extending the measure until 31 January, exactly one year after it was introduced, "authoritative sources" told Italian news agency Adnkronos, following talks late on 30 September.

The move comes amid a surge in new covid-19 cases in other European countries with Italy also seeing an increase over the last month, albeit far fewer cases than France and Spain.

Italy's health undersecretary Sandra Zampa told state broadcaster RAI on 29 September that the government will "need to ask" for a further extension of the emergency measures, reports Reuters.

What is Italy's state of emergency?

The state of emergency grants special powers to national and regional authorities in tackling the fallout from the covid-19 crisis quickly, cutting through red tape to implement, modify or revoke emergency measures if and when required.

In recent days the World Health Organization (WHO) posted a video praising Italy’s “strong and effective response” to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo credit: Daniele COSSU / Shutterstock.com.