Italian president greets citizens for sense of responsibility in New Year speech
Italian president greets citizens for sense of responsibility in New Year speech
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ROME: Sergio Mattarella hailed Italians for their "maturity and sense of responsibility" throughout the two-year coronavirus outbreak in what was to be his final New Year speech as President.

On January 31, 2015, Mattarella, 80, was elected Italy's 12th President, and his seven-year term will finish in January 2022. He made it quite obvious that he will not seek re-election.

"I've been thinking about what we've been through together in the previous two years: the time of a pandemic that startled the world and our lives," he said in a 15-minute speech streamed live from the Quirinale Presidential palace on Friday. The self-sacrifice of physicians, healthcare workers, and all those who have committed themselves to fighting the coronavirus was emphasised by Mattarella as "an invaluable heritage of humanity." Then he applauded ordinary people for believing in science, adhering to anti-pandemic guidelines, and opting to be vaccinated against Covid-19. "This includes practically all Italians," he said, thanking them for their maturity and sense of duty.

Italy recorded almost 144,000 cases on December 31, the greatest daily increase since the pandemic began, as the new Omicron virus type pushes up infections.

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