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Telos' Blog

Jul, 2020

Italy COVID-19. State of emergency extended to 15 October and adoption of D-L n. 83/2020

Following a vote of Parliament, the Cabinet extended the Covid-19 emergency until 15 October – instead of until 30 October, which was the Government’s proposal.

15 October was ultimately agreed as a compromise solution, to address the concerns of part of the ruling majority.

The Cabinet also adopted the Decree-Law n.83/2020, extending until 15 October the authorisation to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health and Regional Presidents to impose restrictions whenever needed to tackle the epidemic. This Decree-Law also extended some of the measures laid down by previous pieces of legislation with a view to ensuring swift procedures for the NHS to purchase medical devices and pharmaceuticals, to hire health professionals and to set up dedicated units whenever needed.

Finally, this Decree-Law extended most of the outstanding restrictions on economic activity and social life laid down by the latest PM Decree of 14 July until 9 August – which means that the Prime Minister is going to sign a new PM Decree in early August laying down the restrictions that will be in force in the coming weeks.


Prior to the Cabinet meeting, by means of two twin resolutions passed by the ruling majority, both the Houses of Parliament had mandated the Government to:

  • Not extend the Covid-19 national emergency beyond 15 October
  • Adopt acts having the force of laws whenever fundamental rights need to be limited to address the epidemic. This means, in practical terms, that any measure limiting fundamental rights (i.e. personal freedom, free movement, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship) shall be adopted by means of a Decree-Law (which is an act having the force of a Law, adopted by the Cabinet and immediately submitted to Parliament for ratification), not through PM Decrees (which are simply adopted by the Prime Minister without any scrutiny from Parliament)
  • Properly involve Parliament in the management of the Covid-19 emergency
  • Promote an action plan with a view to speeding up the process towards the reopening of all economic and social activities
  • Ensure that schools reopen in September, when the 2020-2021 school year begins
  • Guarantee that the forthcoming regional/local elections and the constitutional referendum take place in September 2020 as scheduled and identify alternative polling places (i.e. other than schools) if possible.

Instead, opposition groups opposed the extension of the emergency, arguing that the Government would in any case be able to impose restrictions and take urgent measure to tackle the epidemic by simply adopting legislation whenever needed.

The main argument put forward by the Government to justify the extension of the emergency is that by doing so, public administrations will be in the position to procure goods, services and works through fast-track procedures in derogation of the legislative provisions disciplining public procurement. This, according to the Government, is key to ensure, among others, that all the necessary equipment is purchased in order to let schools reopen in September.

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Italy COVID-19. State of emergency extended to 15 October and adoption of D-L n. 83/2020