Italy targets the unvaccinated with new virus restrictions

Italy is targeting the unvaccinated with a host of new coronavirus restrictions As of Monday, proof of vaccination or a recent infection is required to access public transport, coffee shops, hotels, gyms and other everyday activities

Via AP news wire
Monday 10 January 2022 13:58
Virus Outbreak Italy
Virus Outbreak Italy

Italy targeted the unvaccinated with a host of new coronavirus restrictions Monday, with proof of vaccination or recovery from a recent infection required to enter public transport, coffee shops, hotels, gyms and other everyday activities.

The new “super” health pass requirement, which eliminates the ability to show just a negative test to gain access to services, comes as many Italians return to work and school after the Christmas and New Year's holidays. It came as COVID-19 infections are soaring past 100,000 per day in Italy.

The government has responded to the omicron-fueled wave of infections by passing new restrictions aimed at encouraging vaccine holdouts to get the jabs or be increasingly shut out of recreational and even essential activities, such as taking a bus or subway to work.

Italians have by and large supported the restrictions, which in recent months have also included outdoor mask mandates and a standard health pass to get into workplaces. Many welcomed the new restrictions, which were being enforced Monday by police fanning out at train stations to check passengers' vaccine status and make sure they were wearing the more protective Ffp2 face masks, which were required on public transport as of Monday.

“I’m happy that they are controlling everywhere,” said Carola, Pasqualotto, a member of the Imperi sport center where the front desk was checking members’ vaccination status. “I am in favor of mandatory vaccines for all.”

Premier Mario Draghi though, has faced criticism for a related decision to mandate vaccinations for anyone 50 and over starting next month. Critics say the fine for noncompliance, which starts at 100 euros ($113), makes the mandate toothless. Draghi is presiding over a press conference later Monday to explain the new measures.

Italy, where the coronavirus outbreak first erupted in Europe in February 2020, has fully vaccinated 86% of the over-12 population, and nearly 75% of those who are eligible have received a booster.

But 2 million people out of Italy’s population of 60 million are currently positive, impacting essential services. School districts have complained they don't have enough teachers to reopen, since so many are positive or in quarantine. Some train service has been curtailed because of labor shortages.

Doctors’ associations, meanwhile, have said the surge is hitting Italy's hospitals hard. Some 16,000 COVID-19 patients are in the hospital and 1,600 are in intensive care, but that is well short of the 4,000 people in intensive care units during the height of the first wave. Officials say around two-thirds of those now hospitalized are unvaccinated.


Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in