Italia It makes life more uncomfortable for unvaccinated people this holiday season, excluding them from indoor restaurants, theaters and museums from Monday to limit the spread of the coronavirus and encourage skeptics to get vaccinated.
Italian police can check if diners in restaurants or bars have a green “super” health card proving that they have either been vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. Smartphone apps that check the status of people’s health permits will be updated and those who have tested negative in recent days for COVID-19 will no longer be allowed at concerts, movies or shows. The procedures will continue until January 15th.
The authorities have also imposed a requirement for a “basic” health permit, which can be obtained with a negative test, on local transport and hotel check-in.
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In the capital, Rome, dozens of policemen were controlling local transport hubs as they checked green lanes and personal identities, finding a cooperative mood among commuters. Stefano Napoli, Rome’s deputy municipal police chief, said a 50-year-old Romanian man became the first to receive a €400 fine after getting off the bus at Flaminio North Station without the “essential” health permit.
“It’s time to get it checked out,” said Sarah Benn, a Rome passenger, noting the lack of controls on local transport throughout the pandemic.
Milanese were enjoying the first long weekend of the season, including the celebration on Tuesday for the patron saint of Saint Ambrose and the national holiday on Wednesday, leaving the city a little more empty than usual. But few checks were evident around the main central station, whether for regional trains or local buses and subways.
Tanker Veronica Bianchi said she had not been tested on a regional train arriving in Milan and had not been asked for a health permit. “But they didn’t check the ticket either,” she said.
She favors government moves to encourage more people to get vaccinated, and said she has noticed that people in their 20s like her are more willing to get vaccinated. “Honestly, I think we’re tired of lockdown,” Bianchi said. “I work for a young company, and it was a race to get the vaccine.”
The number of new COVID-19 infections in Italy has been on a gradual rise over the past six weeks, even before concerns emerged about the new omicron variant.
This is a worrying trend as Italians look to holiday parties and getaways to spend time with friends and family, after being denied such festivities last year by a sharp rise in infections before vaccines were widely available.
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As Germany and Austria move toward making vaccinations mandatory, Italy is instead tightening free-time restrictions on the unvaccinated at the most joyous time of the year – while allowing those who have been vaccinated to go about their lives more or less as usual.
Focusing on the holidays, Switzerland will allow event organizers, from Monday, to ban anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not recovered from COVID-19, and Sweden has introduced a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate for indoor events with more than 100 people indoors starting from 1 December.
On November 12, the Danes reintroduced their phased out coronavirus entry permit, which must be shown by all people over the age of 15 when entering nightclubs, cafes, party buses and indoor restaurants and also at indoor events if There are more than 100 spectators/participants. It also applies to outdoor events where the number of people exceeds 1,000 spectators/participants.
Italy’s vaccination rate is higher than many of its neighbours, at 85% of the eligible population aged 12 or over and 77% of the total population. But people in their 30s, 40s and 50s have been shown to be the most reluctant to get vaccinated, with nearly 3.5 million not receiving their first dose.
They are also of the same age group most affected by the virus now, said Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s National Health Institute.
To date, the delta variant remains prevalent, with only seven confirmed cases of omicron in Italy, involving two businessmen returning from South Africa.
As the holiday shopping season heats up, many cities, including Rome and Milan. I ordered the mask mandates even outdoors.
Public health officials say vaccinations, along with prudent public behavior, including wearing masks in crowds indoors or outdoors, are key to reducing infection levels as winter weather prompts more activities indoors. They owe the relatively high level of immunization in Italy as one of the reasons why the infection curve is not as steep as last winter, when widespread restrictions were imposed with the spread of the delta variant.