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Omicron: Italy bans New Year events and shuts night clubs

Italy tightens rules amid rapid spread of Omicron variant.

The Italian government has banned all public New Year's Eve celebrations and ordered the closure of night clubs and discos until 31 January 2022, as part of fresh covid restrictions announced on Thursday.

The measures, designed to stem soaring covid-19 cases during the busy Christmas period, came the same day that Italy registered a record high daily caseload of 44,595 new coronavirus infections, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

The nationwide restrictions follow the recent cancellation of planned New Year events in many cities across Italy as mayors and regional took matters into their own hands.

Italy's latest rules include a return to wearing masks outdoors, with the more protective FFP2 masks required on public transport and in cinemas, theatres and at sporting events.

The scope of the Super Green Pass - which can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid - has been extended to museums, gyms, swimming pools and bars, meaning that unvaccinated people will be unable to drink a coffee or eat a sandwich at the counter.

The duration of the Green Pass certificate will also be cut to six months from the current nine, with effect from 1 February, with the waiting time for a third dose 'booster' following second vaccinations reduced to four months from five.

The new measures come as preliminary studies carried out by Italy's higher health institute (ISS) show that the Omicron variant accounted for 28 per cent of covid cases in the country. 

For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy see the health ministry website
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