The Italian government accelerates its vaccination drive. It is bringing forward the start date for a third dose, or booster jab, to over-40s to 22nd November. There is also debate around the introduction of a super Green Pass.
The move comes amid growing calls for a ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ Green Pass. The Green Pass certificate proves whether the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19.
Regional governors press for ‘super’ Green Pass
Several regional governors are pressing for a super Green Pass. It would apply only to vaccinated or recovered individuals, not those who have negative test results.
The governors’ request is in response to concerns of economic repercussions if regions return to the medium-risk ‘orange zone’ or highest-risk ‘red zone’.
Currently all of Italy is in the lowest-risk white zone, with a number of regions on the verge of entering the low-moderate risk yellow category. Minimal restrictions apply in the yellow category.
With cases rising in Italy, at the moment, the governors fear a negative impact on the economy and society if the tougher orange, or red zone, restrictions come into force. They are voicing their opposition to the idea of closures and partial lockdowns, particularly over the Christmas season.
Double track Green Pass
Liguria region president, Giovanni Toti, is leading a group of governors calling for a ‘double track’ Green Pass. This would involve more stringent measures for the unvaccinated.
Under their proposal the current Green Pass system would remain unchanged for Italy’s workers. That means the unvaccinated would still be able to work if thery tested negative every 48 hours. However, the scope would change for the unvaccinated in relation to the other aspects of the Green Pass.
Critics say the idea is “divisive”, rewarding those who have been vaccinated and penalises those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated.
“Selfishness of some”
On Saturday, Renato Brunetta – minister for public administration – told newspaper Corriere della Sera, a Super Green Pass is the way forward. He says the new rules will avoid “making everyone pay for the selfishness of some.”
“If hospitalisations worsen, I think it is appropriate to strengthen the Green Pass by excluding the unvaccinated from certain social activities: restaurants, stadiums, ski slopes, theatres, cinemas, discos,” said Brunetta. “Why make the whole world of the service sector, culture, sport and leisure pay with restrictions that risk plunging us back into partial lockdowns?”
Italian premier Mario Draghi “was at the forefront of extending the Green Pass to the world of work,” he added. “And he will make the right decision this time too.”
Sicily tightens covid restrictions
Sicily has already brought in restrictions ahead of the Christmas season. People now have to wear protective face masks in crowded outdoor areas.
The ordinance, in force until 31 December, requires everyone over the age of 12 to carry the mask with them at all times. They must wear it in crowded places open to the public.
In addition, arrivals from Germany and the UK will have to undergo covid testing in Sicilian ports and airports.
This requirement is already in place for travellers from, or who pass through, a handful of other countries. Those include the US, Malta, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and the Netherlands.