Wed. May 18th, 2022

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the cancellation of his planned trip to Angola and the Republic of Congo this week.

The visit to the two African nations was part of Italy’s quest to secure new sources of energy as it strives to wean itself off Russian gas, which currently accounts for around 40 per cent of its gas imports.

Last week, Draghi traveled to Algiers to preside over the signing of a deal between Italy’s ENI and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach to increase Italy’s gas imports from Algeria, already its second largest supplier, over the next two years.

Draghi is asymptomatic but unable to travel, the prime minister’s office said in a statement. Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, and Roberto Cingolani, the minister for ecological transition, will go ahead with their travel as planned.

Italy continues to observe some of Europe’s strictest Covid protocols, with masking required on all public transport, in stores and other indoor places. Vaccine certificates are also required for access to indoor dining at bars and restaurants, or entry into many public places or social gatherings.

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