ITALY is planning to recruit 60,000 workers to act as a coronavirus police force to get members of the public to adhere to social distancing rules as part of government plans to combat the spread of the pandemic.
One of the worst affected nations on earth, Italy has 230,158 coronavirus cases and has the third highest casualty count after the US and UK with 32,877 deaths. Across Italy, the infection rate has slowed down from its peak earlier in the year, leading to the government relaxing its lockdown but conditions have been put in place with this easing.
Members of the public are to observe a social distance of up to two metres and are to wear facemasks whenever they are outdoors. To ensure that these rules are adhered to, regional affairs minister Francesco Boccia, has announced the creation of a Covid-19 force amid mounting concern that people are mingling dangerously close to one another on beaches, in bars and on public squares.
Antonio Decaro, the mayor of Bari and the head of the Italian Mayors’ Association, said: “The volunteers will not be vigilantes but spreaders of good behaviour. They will be called civic assistants and wear blue vests and they will be armed with the strength of persuasion, reason and their smiles.”
He added that recruitment will be open to all citizens but with priority given to the unemployed and recipients of welfare aid. Details are to be published by the Civil Protection Agency this week.
Mr Boccia said the Italian government used a carrot-and-stick approach to fight the pandemic which has worked but warned that a further easing of restrictions could be delayed if people misbehaved. Italian authorities are currently scheduled to end a ban on travel between regions on June 3 and on the same date, it will reopen its borders to tourists from other European Union countries.