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Between aperturists and penalty takers, Draghi decides on Friday

An “operational meeting”, to pull the strings of a day in which rigorists and government aperturists challenged each other with statements and communiques, and on the eve of Roberto Speranza’s communications in Parliament. Mario Draghi brought together the competent ministers, Mariastella Gelmini and Roberto Speranza, and a representative for each of the parties at Palazzo Chigi. A move that was preceded a few hours earlier by the news that the Minister of Health will be in Parliament tomorrow for communications on the Covid situation. A double track used by the premier to lead a majority by the hand that expresses diametrically opposed positions on the management of the pandemic. Because the report of Hope, in which the guidelines for the measures that will replace those expiring on 5 March will be outlined, will be followed by a vote, which will bind the parties in the face of the decisions that will be taken.

Those who know him describe the prime minister as neither rigorist nor aperturist, but a “realist”. The trend of the epidemiological curve, the fear of the expansion of variants, the first signs of a possible third wave, are arguments that advise against rash steps. Yet all day it was a bombing. Matteo Salvini slips into Palazzo Chigi early in the morning. A meeting that would have been wanted by Draghi to listen to the arguments of the Northern League leader, who has been fighting for days to loosen his grip, and to answer that the moment is delicate, and that the balance of measures must be scrupulous, and that more than imminent reopenings we can speak of narrow premises where necessary.

The premier wanted to make a point in view of tomorrow’s vote in Parliament, on a statement that will define the address of measures that will in any case be examined in detail starting from Thursday or Friday, when the Higher Institute of Health will provide its report on the progress of the pandemic, and on the situation of variants in our country. Measures that in all probability will be taken through a decree, breaking the recent tradition of the dpcm. “We need to involve Parliament more”, the comments of many of those present, welcomed by the Prime Minister.

“Today I met Draghi, I do not allow myself to put words in the mouth of the premier. He is absolutely sensitive to the protection of health, as I am ”, Salvini’s prudent comment, who nevertheless reiterated the request to the premier for a change at the top of the commissioner structure and a replacement of Domenico Arcuri.

As the hours went by, Salvini’s requests for greater freedom were joined by those of Stefano Patuanelli, who said how the government “should make people return to the restaurant”, and those of Stefano Bonaccini in his dual role as president of the Conference of Regions and governor of Emilia Romagna: “Let’s open restaurants for dinner where there is no risk of contagion”. Provocative on this issue, the Lombard colleague Attilio Fontana: “For infections better four in the restaurant than twenty-four at home”.

Draghi asked Agostino Miozzo, Franco Locatelli and Silvio Brusaferro, representatives of the Scientific Technical Committee, the last two already met at Palazzo Chigi a few days ago, to represent their positions to the ministers. Fresh from the meeting, the CTS has exposed a picture that does not lead to optimism, inviting them to maintain the line of maximum rigor. By mid-March, they explained, the English variant, much more contagious, will have become predominant also in Italy, and already today represents one in three cases among those diagnosed. When asked, the experts highlighted all the risks associated with possible openings, with a possible considerable increase in infections. “We have presented data and numbers, from a scientific point of view we are cautious”, commented the secretary Agostino Miozzo.

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A position of extreme rigor also supported with vivacity by Speranza, and by the delegation of the Democratic Party. Draghi, however, is reluctant to go down the road of generalized lockdown, and probably the zone system, with more or less closures depending on the moment and needs, will be maintained. “The real solution is an acceleration of the vaccination plan”, comments late in the evening who is working on the dossier. Caution and vaccines the direction in which we are set out.

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