PM Draghi’s press conference with Health Minister Speranza and Regional Affairs Minister Gelmini
Wednesday, 24 November 2021
President of the Council of Ministers Mario Draghi at the press conference following today’s Council of Ministers meeting, together with Minister of Health Roberto Speranza and Minister for Regional Affairs Mariastella Gelmini.
Introduction by Prime Minister Draghi
During today’s Council of Ministers meeting, we approved a number of important measures to control the pandemic, which you probably already know a lot about as they have been reported on in the papers over the last few days.
I wish to say a few words to try and explain the logic behind these measures, after which I shall pass the floor to Minister Speranza to provide more precise details and then to Minister Gelmini to present the dialogue there has been with regional authorities and their contributions.
The first thing to say is that, today, the situation in Italy is under control; our situation is probably one of the best in Europe, mainly thanks to the vaccination campaign which has been a considerable success. In this regard, I wish to once again thank all Italians who have been vaccinated, showing great involvement, and I also wish to thank those who are getting vaccinated now, with just as much involvement, because we are seeing a very encouraging number of people receiving their third dose.
Having said that, we need to ask ourselves what the possible risks are. The situation outside of Italy is very serious, also in our neighbouring countries. We are also seeing a slight but continuous worsening of our situation here in Italy, as Professor Brusaferro and Professor Locatelli explained this morning. We must bear in mind that we are not yet at the height of winter and that, according to scientific evidence that has recently become available, full vaccination effectiveness begins to diminish, and it is beginning to do so in this period. As Minister Speranza will explain, this is why one of the measures brings forward the third dose to five months after the second.
However, rather than focus on the risks, I now wish to explain another point raised by the regional governors, with whom there has been very fruitful dialogue, and for this I wish to also thank President of the Conference of Regions Massimiliano Fedriga. The aim of these measures is to prevent in order to preserve. Our goal is prevention, and we want to be very prudent not only to avoid the risks, but also to successfully preserve our achievements to date, everything that Italians have achieved over the course of the last year. Our thoughts immediately go to the almost 134,000 people who have lost their lives over the last eighteen months, to the 8-9% drop in economic activity; some of the worst figures, if not the worst, in the European Union. We remember businesses, shops and restaurants closing and children having to be schooled remotely for a year, suffering as a result; I believe that some of them are indeed still suffering as a result of that experience. Above all, we think about poverty and how this has grown over the last year.
Italians have reacted this year, and economic activity is now growing by over 6%; we are now able to socialise and interact again; essentially, we have begun to get back to normal. This is what these measures are all about; we want to preserve this normality. We do not want this normality to be put at risk. This is the reasoning behind the new measures, considering our desire to remain open, to get out and about, to have fun, to go shopping, to combat poverty, to see our children in schools and happy. This is the prospect that justifies these measures.
Before moving on to your questions, I now wish to pass the floor to Minister Speranza.