The Italian government announced on Friday that it would impose strict restrictions on islands in southern Sicily, including mandatory outdoor masks. The announcement followed a surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations in the region, where vaccination rates were at record lows.
Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement, “We have confirmed that the virus has not yet been defeated and that continuing to invest in vaccination campaigns is a priority.” ..
Also, a new rule that limits the number of people sitting at a restaurant table to four will come into effect on Monday. Doctors say they explain the direct consequences of avoiding the vaccine.
On Sicily, about 55% of the population is fully vaccinated, the lowest in Italy, and hospitals are filled with unvaccinated Sicilian people.
In the city of Palermo, 80% of hospital coronavirus patients are unvaccinated and the majority are unvaccinated. Dr. Renato Costa, the city’s Covid emergency commissioner, said people in the ICU had not received the vaccine. Similar rates are observed throughout the region.
“If we had a higher vaccination rate, our hospital would be empty,” said Dr. Costa.
According to local doctors, the decline in vaccination rates in August is sacred to many Sicilians as it is associated with summer vacation, and distributing shots to Italy’s lowest income and education areas. Is becoming more difficult.
Over the past few weeks, doctors have scrambled to reach and immunize Sicilians.
They handed out tickets for olive oil, pistachio spreads and Palermo soccer matches to those who agreed to vaccinate. They offered shots at the beach and pizzerias. To inoculate the elderly and marginalized inhabitants, they brought doses to a local tavern in Palermo’s low-income Vucciria district and to Zen, a housing project north of the city.
Last weekend, doctors drove a truck to celebrate a carnival near the city of Catania, vaccinated Sicilian people who participated in the parade, and set up a vaccination center in Palermo’s ice cream shop on Monday.
The new restrictions followed an increase in hospitalizations, with the majority of cases involving unvaccinated people.
“We have tried all the way in the last few months to get the Sicilians vaccinated,” regional president Nello Musmechi wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “It’s time for all of us to realize our citizens’ obligation to protect themselves.”