AEven if Italy is fighting comparatively successfully against Covid-19 this year, the country cannot avoid tightening the measures in autumn 2021. On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the Minister responsible for the regions Mariastelle Gelmini presented new restrictions. They mainly consist of tougher conditions for unvaccinated people.
For example, the previously valid 3-G certificate will be replaced by a more stringent “green pass” – called “super green pass” in the press – which is only available after vaccination or recovery and is no longer available in many places from December 6th negative tests. In future, this will be mandatory at cultural and sporting events, in closed rooms of bars and restaurants, in discos and at parties and public celebrations. The government emphasizes that the “extended” green passport enables vaccinated and cured people to continue to attend such events and places. The passport is no longer valid for twelve months, but only for nine months.
Hundreds of thousands of travelers and commuters affected
At the same time, the Italians have to show the previous green passport, the classic 3-G certificate, from December 6th in hotels, changing rooms as well as in regional rail transport and in buses, trams and subways. The new measure will affect hundreds of thousands of travelers, especially commuters who use public transport to get to work every day.
The compulsory vaccination, which previously applied to health and education staff, will also be expanded: in future, it will also apply to administrative staff in the health care system and the school sector, as well as to the military, police forces and rescue services. All employees in health professions must have a third vaccination from mid-December. The government is now also promising increased controls, which have not always happened so far.
Freedoms for vaccinated people should continue to exist if possible. In the regions with a comparatively low incidence and exposure to hospitals (“white zones”), it is not necessary to wear a mask outdoors for the time being. In the regions that have been hit harder (“yellow”, “orange” and “red”), on the other hand, people also have to wear masks outdoors. Health Minister Speranza also stated that from December 1, anyone over the age of 18 will be able to register for a booster vaccination, if five months have passed since the completion of the first vaccination cycle.
Italy started very early to require health care workers and later also staff in schools and kindergartens to vaccinate. A 3-G certificate at the workplace has been valid for everyone since mid-October. The country is therefore one of the front runners in Europe in terms of vaccination rates, and it ranks lower in terms of incidences and hospital admissions.
However, individual regions of Italy are outliers, especially South Tyrol, where comparatively little has been vaccinated so far. There is now again the mask requirement in the open air. Dance events are prohibited and restaurants and bars close at 6 p.m. A curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. came into effect on Wednesday in twenty communities with high incidence rates and low vaccination rates.
Draghi said in the evening that “the situation in Italy is now under control”. The country is in a better position than many others, “thanks to the vaccination campaign, which was a remarkable success”. But the situation in Italy’s neighboring countries is very serious. “We also see that our situation is deteriorating slightly but steadily”. Health Minister Speranza also wants to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11 – from when has not yet been determined, but the minister expects a start date in December.