Italian government extends emergency powers for three months.
The Italian government on Tuesday night extended the nation's emergency powers until 31 March 2022, amid a rise in covid-19 cases.
The state of emergency legislation, in place since 31 January 2020, expires at the end of this year.
The state of emergency grants special powers to national and regional authorities in tackling the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic quickly, cutting through red tape to implement, modify or revoke urgent measures when required.
Italy also unveiled new travel rules requiring all EU arrivals to undergo a covid test before departure, including those who are vaccinated.
The new rules, in place from 16 December until 31 January, also oblige unvaccinated EU visitors to quarantine for five days on arrival.
The move to extend Italy's emergency legislation was earlier welcomed by the leaders of the government's coalition parties - Enrico Letta of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) and Giuseppe Conte of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle.
The leader of the right-wing Lega party Matteo Salvini, who up to a few days ago was strongly opposed to the move, had said he was "waiting for data" before declaring his view.
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) in opposition, slammed the move, saying: "It is not an emergency."
The extension of Italy's state of emergency comes after the introduction of the Super Green Pass, which excludes the unvaccinated from a range of activities, and the recent banning of No Vax demonstrations from city centres across Italy.
For official information relating to the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website. Photo credit: Massimo Todaro / Shutterstock.com.