Italy will ban selfie and snap-taking on beaches, after a spate of deaths linked to the habit.
The country’s top health official said the new rules were to tackle the “unnecessary and tragic” trend of selfie-takers and tourists.
Health Minister Beatriz Bruguera said it was necessary to combat a dangerous trend of people not only taking selfies but also taking photos of themselves on the beach.
“It is important to be mindful that selfies are an important part of our society,” she told reporters.
“We must ensure that we don’t turn these moments into an environment of the irresponsible use of a camera.”
The new measures come after a string of beach deaths in Italy in recent months, with people reportedly taking selfies to prove they had been to the shore.
The latest deaths occurred on Saturday in the coastal town of Lampedusa, in a case that prompted a furious response from politicians.
The town, which has a population of roughly 4,000, is a popular tourist spot, with families coming from all over Italy and even overseas.
The Italian government said on Monday that people were being urged to wear face masks and avoid the sun and take photos of their surroundings.
“As soon as it was confirmed that the death was caused by a selfie-taker, we took all possible measures to reduce the risk of this incident to our citizens,” Ms Brugua said.
“I would like to reassure that we have all the necessary measures in place to prevent a repeat of this.”
She said that the government had also introduced measures to help prevent selfie-snowboarding, in which tourists are instructed to avoid taking pictures on the ground and instead try to “take the selfie by foot”.
The government also said that if a tourist was found to have taken a selfie, they would be fined up to 5,000 euros ($6,400) and given a certificate of shame.
A spokeswoman for the ministry of health said the rules would be introduced over the next few weeks.
“The new rules aim to reduce unnecessary and tragic cases of selfie taking and selfie-ing on the beaches of Lampusa,” she said.
Topics:health,health-policy,community-and-society,lampusa-5169,italyFirst posted May 18, 2020 09:31:36Contact Andrea TuminoMore stories from Australia