The Italian government has blocked the opening of the country’s ski resorts, which had been expected for this week.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza extended the existing ban on winter sports for recreational skiers on Sunday, giving increased risks from new virus variants as the reason.
The government had planned to allow skiing to resume on Monday in the country’s so-called yellow zones, where the infection risk is considered moderate. Yellow zones include Lombardy, the Aosta Valley and the Veneto.
Warnings from virologists about rising Corona numbers had increased in the run-up to Sunday. Reports say that experts on the CTS scientific committee, which advises the government in Rome, had voted against opening the ski resorts. The health ministry’s advisor, Walter Ricciardi, considered the opening of the lifts “incompatible” with the Corona figures, which had recently deteriorated.
Cable car operators and other companies in the affected Alpine zones had already started with preparations for the opening and they immediately protested against the experts’ assessment.