ROME (LifeSiteNews) — The Italian government has approved a new, more restrictive version of the so-called “green pass” vaccine passport.
“The super green pass” was approved Wednesday by the Italian council of ministers.
Once introduced, the passport will be granted only to people who either have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recently recovered from the disease.
Those who don’t have the “super green pass” will be excluded from many venues. A negative PCR or positive antigen test will no longer be accepted for indoor dining or for cultural and sporting activities.
The original green pass, imposed in October, had permitted unvaccinated people to access venues, including their workplace, provided they showed a negative COVID test no older than 48 hours.
The new Italian protocol strongly resembles Germany’s so-called 2G rule currently in place in several German states; it also bars unvaccinated people from certain public venues, even if they test negative for COVID.
The “super green pass” will allow holders to visit shops, bars, restaurants and places of culture and leisure even if a region moves from being a “yellow zone” (moderate-risk) and to an orange zone (medium-high-risk) according to the Italian color system for COVID-19 incidence, which strongly resembles New Zealand’s “traffic light” system.
However, people will still be required to wear facemasks outdoors in yellow zone areas. If a region goes red, signifying a high risk of infection in the minds of the authorities, then everyone will experience restrictions, regardless of vaccination status. All “non-essential” shops and businesses will close.
The new “super green pass” has sparked mixed reactions in Italy.
Some, like Matteo Bassetti, head of Infectious Diseases at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, approve of the measure.
“It’s a way to motivate people to immunize themselves […] and to encourage vaccination,” Bassetti told Il Giornale, an Italian newspaper.
Bassetti argued that it would make the places where the new measure is applied “safer.”
Others, like Italy’s main opposition party leader Giorgia Meloni, have criticized the measure and the Italian prime minister Mario Draghi for introducing it.
“Draghi and [Health Minister Roberto] Speranza admit that they were mocking the Italian people when they said that imposing the pass, including at the workplace, would ensure freedom,” Meloni said Meloni in a Facebook post.
“They don’t rule out the extension of the state of emergency, they change the duration of the green pass without providing any scientific data [to justify it], and they don’t raise any doubts about the vaccination on children.”
“We were expecting excuses and an admission that the strategy applied until now has failed,” she added before accusing Draghi of imposing “more penalties and more restrictions on citizens’ rights” while offering “no concrete intervention to solve the structural problems Italy has been burdened with since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Italian government is also planning to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for teachers and police officers from December 15, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
They would then become the second and third group of workers in Italy to be forced to get the jab or face losing their job, a situation which currently applies only to medical professionals. The healthcare workers may soon have to receive a third dose of the vaccine, as the Italian government is also planning to make boosters mandatory for them.
Italy has been imposing increasingly restrictive measures against the unvaccinated in the past few months, and dissidents have been severely punished.
Last month, protests erupted throughout the country as the first green pass went into effect, requiring the employed to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to access their places of work.
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