Italy Set For Tougher Restrictions On Unvaccinated People As COVID Cases Rise

The new rules could limit unvaccinated people's access to theaters, cinemas and bars. Image credit: Sara Sette / Shutterstock.com

The Italian government is set to toughen its COVID-19 restrictions in the face of increasing cases in the country. The new rules could apply only to people who haven’t yet had their COVID-19 jab. Italy already operates under a mandatory health pass known as the "Green Pass", demonstrating proof of vaccination or a negative test to allow people to go to work. The so-called "Super Green Pass" is expected to come into effect over the next week and would need to be presented at cinemas, gyms, restaurants, and sports stadiums. 

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has seen Europe again become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this stage in the vaccine rollout, the new outbreaks represent an unusual opportunity to cater restrictions to residents’ inoculation status.

Harsher restrictions for people who haven’t had their jabs is a logical move in that vaccinated people are less likely to pass on the virus than the unvaccinated when socializing. Furthermore, you are five times less likely to become hospitalized with the disease after having the jab compared to being unvaccinated, even if you've had a previous infection. So far, the research demonstrates that mingling remains uniquely risky for certain groups of people.

In light of this, some countries have been limiting access to non-essential public spaces such as bars, cinemas, clubs, and theaters for people who aren’t vaccinated. The move was toyed with in Austria before the situation called for a full national lockdown and is already in place in Germany. The Netherlands is in partial lockdown, but due to recording the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic has reintroduced social distancing measures and is set to announce more restrictions this week. 

Should it be a fate shared by the unvaccinated in Italy remains to be seen, but the government is expected to call a vote Wednesday evening and the Super Green Pass could be in place from December 1, reports Bloomberg. The Green Pass was originally issued in August to encourage people to get vaccinated so cases would be under control by winter. It's estimated 77 percent of Italy is fully vaccinated. 

The vote comes after a sobering address by Germany’s Minister for Health, Jens Spahn, who recently said in a press conference: “Probably by the end of the winter, more or less everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead. That sounds cynical, but that is the reality.”

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