BFF-24 Italy proposes 60,000 volunteers for post-virus vigilance





Italy proposes 60,000 volunteers for post-virus vigilance

ROME, May 25, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Italian officials have proposed
creating a 60,000-strong corps of volunteer “civic assistants” who
would remind people of the need to observe measures against
coronavirus infection as the country emerges from lockdown.

The force, to be drawn from among pensioners and the unemployed, is
the brainchild of Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia and
Antonio Decaro, mayor of the southern city of Bari.

The civil protection unit, which manages the various volunteers
helping to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic that has caused nearly
33,000 deaths in Italy, would be charged with the recruitment.

They would answer questions and remind the public of social
distancing rules, or the need to wear masks, in crowded areas such as
beaches, parks and city streets. The volunteers would not be able to
fine people.

Decaro said Monday that some of these potential volunteers had
already “helped deliver groceries or medicines to those who could not
leave their homes during the crisis.”

“In this new phase, they will help control access to parks or
markets, counting the number of people entering or leaving, or
explaining the rules of access to beaches when they reopen,” Decaro,
who is also president of the Association of Italian Municipalities,
said in a statement.

Some authorities said they welcomed the idea of more help in the
aftermath of the coronavirus crisis as they struggle with crowd
control at bars, cafes and beaches after two months of lockdown.

“Civic assistants can be useful,” said Paolo Truzu, mayor
Sardinia’s capital Cagliari, adding that he envisioned them helping on
his city’s beaches.

Others, however, scoffed at the idea.

“How can we think that 60,000 people found who knows where, trained
who knows where will be going around Italy telling Italians what to do
on the basis of rules that nobody understands?” asked former
government minister Carlo Calenda, leader of the small centrist Azione
party, on Twitter.

“Is this normal and legitimate in a democratic country?”

Giordano Masini, member of the pro-European Piu Europa (More
Europe) party, said what Italy needed was more capable professionals.

“We need doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, educated
people,” Masini said.