The Italian region of Campania, one of the hardest hit in the country during this second wave of the pandemic, closes its schools until the end of the month, a measure that affects around 1.1 million students. Vincenzo De Luca, regional president of this southern territory that has Naples as its capital, signed on Thursday night the decree that provides for primary and secondary schools and universities to switch to distance learning from this Friday until 30 October. Only students of the first year of university courses may continue with face-to-face classes.
Italy has been beating its own contagion records for days. Yesterday 8,804 were registered, a figure that had not been seen since the first local infected with coronavirus began to be detected last February. 1,127 of these new cases correspond to Campania. Yes, almost 163,000 tests were carried out yesterday, a record figure that multiplies by five the daily average of PCRs that were carried out during the hardest moments of the pandemic in spring. There were also 83 deaths, almost double than the previous day.
The decision to close the schools in Campania, taken unilaterally by De Luca citing the spotlight in the school environment, represents a challenge for the Government of Rome. “It is not the best solution,” said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, ensuring that the percentage of infections in schools compared to the total “is very low.” Despite its obvious disappointment, the Executive does not seem to be contesting the bolt in the schools of Campania. “I remember that the regions can adopt more restrictive measures,” Conte commented from Brussels, who spoke with De Luca by phone to express his anger at a decision that was “very easy” to make but not the best “because of the signal we are giving. ».
Although he is a member of the Democratic Party, one of the political forces that make up the coalition that supports the government, the histrionic De Luca usually maintains a position of total independence. His initiative to close schools is now beginning to be considered in other regions, such as Veneto. For the Minister of Education, Lucia Azzolina, giving up face-to-face teaching is “unacceptable” if the contagions that have occurred in the classrooms are taken into account. Instead, he asked that officials and employees from other sectors return to remote work to reduce the number of users of public transport. “De Luca’s decision is extremely serious, deeply wrong and inappropriate,” criticized Azzolina on Rai Radio 1.
The Higher Institute of Health, which studies the evolution of the pandemic, warned that it has again entered an “acute phase”, which poses a risk to the hospital system in some regions. The southern territories, such as Campania, due to their fewer resources, are the ones that would suffer the worst if the thousands of hospitalized and admitted to the ICU were repeated last spring, when the coronavirus was centered in the northern regions, the most developed .
Andrea Crisanti, one of the most respected virologists in the country, has once again insisted that tougher measures are needed because “it is too late for the scans.” After proposing a bolt during Christmas on Wednesday, yesterday he opened the door to the adoption of restrictions even earlier because “it is necessary to reduce personal contacts.”