Unvaccinated Italians Face New Restrictions for Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, Italy is making life more difficult for unvaccinated individuals by excluding them from indoor restaurants, theaters, and museums in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and persuade vaccine doubters to get their doses.

From Monday until January 15, Italian police will be able to verify whether customers in restaurants and pubs have a “super” green health permit indicating that they have been vaccinated or have recovered from the infection. Smart phone apps that monitor people’s health pass status will be updated, and individuals who have just tested negative for COVID-19 in the last few days will no longer be permitted to attend concerts, movies, or shows.

The frequency of new COVID-19 infections in Italy has been steadily increasing over the previous six weeks, even before the new omicron form raised concerns. As Italians arrange Christmas parties and excursions to spend time with friends and family, this is a concerning trend. Last year, due to a more rapid spread of the virus, Christmas travel and holiday parties were carefully prohibited.

While Germany and Austria are moving toward making vaccinations mandatory, Italy is strengthening restrictions on the unvaccinated during the most festive season of the year, while allowing those who have been vaccinated to go about their lives as usual.

With 85 percent of the eligible population aged 12 and older and 77 percent of the overall population vaccinated, Italy outperforms many of its neighbors. People in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, on the other hand, have been the most hesitant to be vaccinated, with roughly 3.5 million still waiting for their first dosage.

According to Silvio Brusaferro, president of Italy’s National Health Institute, they are also the same age group that is presently being impacted the most by the virus.

People must also have a health pass to use local public transit and stay in hotels starting Monday, which may be obtained with a negative recent test. Health permits will be verified before individuals are permitted aboard the metro or buses in Milan, according to the prefect.

Many cities, like Rome and Milan, have enforced mask bans even outside as the holiday shopping season heats up.

Vaccinations, combined with cautious public behavior such as wearing masks in crowds, are crucial to minimizing infection levels when the winter weather forces more activities indoors, according to public health authorities. They regard Italy’s relatively high level of vaccination as one reason why the infection curve is not as steep as it was last winter, when the spread of the delta form was severely restricted.

“We cannot easily limit schools to physical courses and shut down economic activity after two years of epidemic,” said Gianni Rezza, the health ministry’s head of prevention.

“As a result, you may try to avoid the infection from spreading by taking long-term precautions and making appropriate use of the health pass.” Then there’s the massive gamble on immunizations,” he explained.

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