The Italian government has put new restrictions in place in an attempt to slow the country’s rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts.
A so-called Super Green Pass, which documents proof of COVID-19 vaccination or recent recovery, is now required to enter almost all public places and public transport until at least March 31. The requirement eliminates the option to simply show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which had been sufficient to enter bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, theaters, cinemas, and use public transportation until last week.
“Most of the problems we are facing today are because there are unvaccinated people,” Premier Mario Draghi said earlier this week, The Local reports. He went on to urge “all the Italians who are not yet vaccinated to do so.”
A Developing Situation
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 74.78 percent of Italy’s population is fully vaccinated. However, 219,430 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on January 6, which is a record one-day high.
Reuters also reports that the average number of COVID-19 cases reported each day in Italy continues to be at a peak level. More than 165,000 new cases are reported every day.
Doctors in Italy have expressed alarm that the surge of COVID-19 patients in recent weeks means hospitals could soon reach a point where they are not able to perform regular surgeries or offer proper care to patients who do not have COVID-19.
“Unvaccinated people have a much higher chance of developing the disease and severe forms of the disease,” Premier Draghi said. He noted that more than two-thirds of the patients currently in intensive care units are not vaccinated for COVID-19, which puts hospitals and their staff “under more pressure.”
The Super Green Pass requirement in Italy began earlier this week. Police were seen checking passengers’ vaccination status at train stations and ensuring passengers were wearing FFP2 face masks, which are more protective and are now required on Italian public transportation, the Associated Press reports.
For the most part, Italians support the new requirements.
“I’m happy that they are controlling everywhere,” Carola Pasqualotto, a member of a gym where front-desk workers are checking members’ vaccination status, told Euronews. “I am in favor of mandatory vaccines for all.”
Know Before You Go
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19” alert for Italy, urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the country. Based on the CDC’s guidance, The U.S. State Department followed suit, discouraging travel to the country.
The situation in Italy, as it is in all countries, could change quickly. To stay up to date on developments, be sure to read all of our travel news coverage.