Italy's government on Sunday blocked ski resorts from opening, a day before skiing was due to be allowed for the first time this winter season due to coronavirus restrictions.
The health ministry said in a statement that Minister Roberto Speranza signed a measure prolonging a ban on recreational skiing at resorts until March 5.
The decision came after new data from the country's top health agency, ISS, showed that the British variant of the coronavirus now represents, on average, 17.8 percent of new infections in Italy.
"Concern about the spread of this and other variants of SARS-CoV-2 has led to similar measures being taken in France and Germany," the ministry said.
The reopening of the ski season had been met with great relief in Italy's northern regions, where just four days ago authorities said ski resorts would be allowed to reopen, following favourable advice from the expert panel advising on the Covid-19 pandemic.
After weeks of coronavirus-related closures, it marked the first time in the current season that skiing would be allowed.
In Lombardy, the region hardest hit by the pandemic that has killed over 93,000 people in the country, ski operators had to limit the daily number of skiers to no more than 30 percent of the hourly capacity of cable cars and ski-lifts.
Other regions, too, had been allowed to reopen their slopes on Monday as long as they were considered "yellow" areas, signifying a lower risk of virus infections.
But on Sunday, due to the new data, new restrictions came into effect in the regions of Abruzzo, Liguria, Tuscany and the autonomous province of Trentino, which were moved up to the medium-risk "orange" category from "yellow."
The ministry said it would begin compensating ski lift operators as soon as possible.