(Bloomberg) – Italy will restrict many leisure activities for citizens who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have not recently tested negative for the virus, amid a surge in delta infections.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet decided Thursday that a so-called green pass will be required to dine inside or to enter crowded places such as theaters, stadiums, cinemas, gyms or museums. The passes are currently given to people who have received a vaccine, who have recovered from COVID-19 or who have tested negative in the last 48 hours.
“The use of vaccine certificates is necessary to keep the economy open,” Draghi said at a news conference. “An invitation not to be vaccinated is an invitation to die or to let others die. The lack of vaccines means a new confinement ”.
The decision comes as Italy struggles to save the summer tourist season and keep the economy open despite rising coronavirus cases. The country recorded 5,057 new infections on Thursday, more than double the previous week.
Draghi emphasized that Italy’s economy is recovering faster than expected and is even outperforming some of its European peers. More than half of the Italian population is fully vaccinated, he said.
On Thursday, the government also changed the thresholds that automatically trigger trade restrictions and partial closures at the regional level, focusing on hospital occupancies rather than new numbers of cases. Under the previous rules, several regions, including Rome, would have already seen partial restrictions reintroduced as of this weekend.
Allowing many social activities only for those who are vaccinated is highly controversial within Italy’s rebellious government coalition, and has been criticized by League leader Matteo Salvini, one of Draghi’s key supporters. Still, League ministers backed the new rules.
Similar measures announced in France by President Emmanuel Macron sparked protests, but also dramatically spurred vaccinations.
Original Note: Italy Requires Vaccine Pass for Dining and Leisure as Cases Rise
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