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A year on from Europe's first lockdown, Italy mulls new restrictions

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By Euronews
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Doctors tend to a patient in the emergency COVID-19 ward at Mellino Mellini hospital in Chiari, northern Italy
Doctors tend to a patient in the emergency COVID-19 ward at Mellino Mellini hospital in Chiari, northern Italy   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

It's a year since Italy became the first country to impose a COVID-19 lockdown.

But while the country's vaccine rollout has begun, Rome is considering fresh restrictions to control a surge in cases attributed to variants.

With the UK variant prevalent in Italy and racing from school-age children and adolescents through families, Lombardy has again put all schools on distance learning, as have several regions in the south where the health care system is more fragile. The variant has also put hospitals in Italy’s northern Brescia province on high alert.

It comes as Italy became the first European Union country to officially pass 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, is focusing on vaccines to help the country emerge from the pandemic, pledging in a video message this week to intensify the campaign significantly in the coming weeks.

“Everyone must do his part to contain this spread of this virus,” Draghi said on Tuesday. “But above all, the government must do its part. Rather, it must try to do more every day. The pandemic is not yet defeated.”

On Tuesday, it emerged Italy is set to become the first EU country to produce Russia's Sputnik V jab. Manufacturing is set to start in July and ten million doses will be produced this year.

Watch the full report in the video player above.