Italy vaccination rules bring chaos

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Sun 26th Sep, 2021

It applies to anyone who visits and operates restaurants, public concerts, events and sports competitions, government offices, museums, cultural sites, exhibitions, swimming pools, gyms, on long-distance trains and cogwheel railroads, in spas, at trade fairs and village fairs, conferences and congresses, in thermal baths, theme and amusement parks, cultural centers, civic meeting places, gambling parlors, casinos. And that's not even the whole list of places in Italy that now require the so-called Green Pass, the certificate of being vaccinated or recovered against the Coronavirus. They are enumerated in the latest decree of the Draghi government. The list has the seriousness, the rigor and a musicality that makes one think of an Old Testament text. It leaves practically no gaps. It is true that the taboo word compulsory vaccination is avoided. In fact, it is as good as there. Anyone who wants to participate in public life in Italy as of October 15 must be vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.

In Italy, the Corona shock has had an effect

Those who are no longer allowed to go to work without proof of vaccination and otherwise risk losing wages due to unexcused absences are hardly free to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. Unless he or she has a bigger wallet: entering any of the above places without proof will cost several hundred euros, and company managements that fail to check their employees' green passports will have to pay up to 1,000 euros. And an up-to-date test cannot be had for less than 50 euros, depending on the region.

The necessity of this sharp measure is debatable. Italy was not only the earliest and most severely hit country in Europe by the virus. The citizens have already learned their lesson from the pandemic even without pressure from Rome. Vaccination readiness is high; Lombardy, which was particularly hard hit by the virus, has a good chance of reaching a 90 percent vaccination rate by the end of October.

What the government calls "expanding" the Green Passport is intended to increase pressure on the still undecided and hard-line vaccination opponents. When 85 percent of people nationwide are vaccinated, we will see "an almost normal autumn," the regional minister explained. Even discotheques could reopen then.

The view from north to south is painful these days: while in Germany a young man was shot dead for admonishing a customer to wear a mask, and Corona deniers are threatening people willing to be vaccinated, recently also in a Berlin school, in Italy the "No-Vax" front - which again brought several thousand protesters to the squares in Rome and Milan over the weekend - is much quieter. The flirtation of Matteo Salvini's right-wing Lega ended embarrassingly during the parliamentary vote. Half of the Lega deputies did not show up, and the head of their parliamentary group claimed in all seriousness that they had been ill or on a business trip.

Even with the smoking ban, people in the south were more understanding than in Germany

Of course, Italy's economy is also putting pressure on the government, which wants to see production fully resumed and restaurants full again. But above all, too many young people have seen their grandparents die, too many doctors and nurses have fallen victim to the epidemic, for anyone there to get the idea that the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus. In traditionally state-skeptical and individualistic Italy, they do not complain about a "corona dictatorship," but rely on their common sense in impressive numbers.

Incidentally, this is not the first time: when there was a dispute in Germany more than a decade ago about the ban on smoking in restaurants, the country was upside down; pub culture and personal development were allegedly under existential threat. Italy had imposed the ban a few years earlier and much more rigorously - and there were no religious wars over it, it was quickly accepted.

The pandemic has brought Europe closer together, especially tangibly over the recovery plan with which the Union wants to get out of the crisis. More than 800 billion for investments in a green and digital future, many of which will go to Italy. This will be a matter not only of common sense at the grassroots level of society, but also of common sense on the part of governments. Will a future German one then implement the irrational battle cries of the election campaign "Just no bans!" or dare to do something like the current Roman one in the pandemic? We can be curious, in Rome as in Berlin.

Photo by Ed Us


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