Home Health The close on the virus: curfew and the obligation to wear a mask outdoors

The close on the virus: curfew and the obligation to wear a mask outdoors

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Worried about the rise in infections, the governors of the regions from north to south ask for an acceleration on the new anti Covid measures. The biggest concern now is the crowding in the shopping streets in view of the Christmas holidays, just as we are facing the fourth wave of infections. One of the issues on the table in the confrontation with the government is in fact the obligation of outdoor masks. In South Tyrol, Lazio and Sicily there are already ordinances. “It is a measure that should be adopted immediately throughout Italy regardless of the colors of the regions”, explained the councilor for health of Lazio, Alessio D’Amato “especially in crowded places”.

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Data in hand, some governors have already adopted the restrictions hoping to avoid the lockdown and save the tourist season. Thus in South Tyrol where the president of the Region, Arno Kompatscher, worried about the resurgence of infections and the situation in hospitals has restored twenty “red zones” in as many municipalities where both the curfew from 20 to 5 in the morning for discos, theaters and cinemas, and the early closure at 18 for bars and restaurants will be respected . The measures concern the municipalities of Senales, Valgardena, Santa Cristina, Castelrotto, Funes, Rio di Pusteria, Rasun Anterselva, Castelbello Ciardes, Ortisei, Moso di Passiria, Marlengo, Laion, Caines, Rodengo, Naz-Sciaves, San Pancrazio, Vandoies, Last, Martello, Plaus, Postal.

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From South Tyrol to Sicily to make the governors lose sleep is the assault on the shopping streets and the arrival of tourists. In Sicily, the obligation to wear a mask outdoors in particularly crowded places is already a reality since November 18. President Nello Musumeci (one of the supporters of the vaccination obligation) has signed an ordinance addressed to “all citizens aged 12 and over”. But in Sicily there was a squeeze for those coming from abroad: mandatory tampons for travelers arriving from the United Kingdom and the United States. Same measure in ports and airports for those coming from Germany and the United Kingdom (including all those who have stayed or passed through the two countries in the 14 days prior to arrival). The check was foreseen for those coming (or having passed through it in the previous 14 days) also from Malta, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and Holland.

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Restrictive measures also in Valle d’Aosta. The governor Renzo Testolin has ordered the prohibition of entry to external persons in both public and private residential social-health and social-welfare structures. At least for now.

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The mayors are also moving, worried by the assault of the historic centers. So in Padua, where the mayor Sergio Giordani has on his table, awaiting signature, an ordinance that provides for the obligation to wear a mask in the open 24 hours a day throughout the historic center from November 26th to December 31st. In Naples, Thursday 25 November the mayor Gaetano Manfredi he will also sign an ordinance for the regulation of accesses in the streets of the Decumani, the heart of the ancient city center, during the Christmas period. The need to limit the access of citizens and tourists in the narrow alleys of the historic center has reappeared in the last weekends with the mass return of tourists, after the decrease in arrivals due to the pandemic. Same problem facing the mayor Luigi Brugnaro in Venice, where 85,000 people arrived between the calli and campielli for the long weekend of November 1st, 40% of whom were Italians. The mayor of the lagoon city has mapped the city, identifying some areas of both the historic center and the mainland where it will be mandatory to wear a mask even outdoors. In the sights: Christmas markets, fairs on the occasion of the Epiphany and especially in the streets of Venice where it is not possible to respect interpersonal distance.

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But the outdoor distance alone is not enough now, the mask and the vaccination count. To reiterate how the transmission of this virus is aerial and highly random is a study by the University of Cambridge published in Physics of Fluids. A research that endorses the obligation to wear this device in the red areas as is happening in South Tyrol. Because it is now clear that in the absence of nose-mouth protection, a positive person can infect another at a distance of two meters, even when outdoors. Through coughing, talking or just breathing. “The two-meter rule – the experts explain – is an effective message that is easy to remember for the public, but it is not in itself an effective safety measure. Mask, vaccination and good ventilation, although not 100% effective, instead they are essential to contain the virus “.


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The Cambridge team that conducted the study, led by Epaminondas Mastorakos of the Department of Engineering, analyzed, through fluid mechanics, how droplets spread when people cough. It is difficult to predict how far the emitted aerosol will reach. The simulations used refined computational models by solving the equations for turbulent flow, along with detailed descriptions of the movement and evaporation of the droplets. Thus it turned out that when a person coughs and does not wear a mask, most of the larger droplets will fall on nearby surfaces. The smaller ones, on the other hand, remain suspended in the air and can rapidly spread well beyond two meters. The distance and speed of diffusion will depend on the quality of ventilation in the room and the characteristics of the cough itself. Hence the suggestion to keep a distance of at least 3 meters or more. “For this reason, the two-meter rule is not in itself an effective safety measure. To contain the spread of the virus you need a mask, vaccination and good ventilation – concludes Mastorakos – not only that, we also add one last recommendation. Better continue to wear masks in indoor spaces such as offices, classrooms and shops “.

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