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Italy This holiday season is making life more uncomfortable for unvaccinated people, locking them out of indoor restaurants, theaters and museums starting Monday to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and quell vaccine skeptics Be encouraged to get your shots.

Italian police may investigate whether diners at restaurants or bars have a “super” green health pass that certifies that they have either been vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. Smartphone applications that check the status of people’s health passes will be updated and those who have only tested negative for COVID-19 in recent days will no longer be allowed in concerts, movies or performances. The measures last until January 15.

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Officials also imposed a requirement for a “basic” health pass, which can be obtained on local transport and in hotels to check in with a negative test.

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In the capital, Rome, local transportation hubs were manned by dozens of police, checking both green passes and personal identities, detecting cooperative mood among commuters. Still, a 50-year-old Roman became the first to receive a 400-euro fine after getting off a bus at a North Flaminio station without a “basic” health pass, said Stefano Napoli, deputy chief of Rome’s municipal police force.

“It was about time they checked it,” said Sarah Benn, a commuter in Rome, noting the absence of controls on local transport during the pandemic.

Milanese were enjoying the first long weekend of the season, which included a Tuesday celebration for the patron saint of Sant Ambrose and a Wednesday national holiday, leaving the city a little more empty than usual. But some checks were evident around the main Central Station for regional trains or local buses and subways.

Commuter Veronica Bianchi said she had not been checked on a regional train arriving in Milan and had not been asked for her health pass. “But they didn’t even check the ticket,” she said.

She supports the government’s steps to encourage more people to get vaccinated, and says she notes that people in their 20s like her are more apt to receive the vaccine. “Frankly, I think we’re tired of the lockdown. I work for a young company, and it was a race to get the vaccine,” Bianchi said.

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Italy has been rising slowly over the past six weeks, even before concerns arose about the new Omicron variant.

It’s a worrying trend as Italians look forward to holiday parties and spending time with friends and family, after being denied such festivities last year due to a surge in contagion before vaccines were widely available.

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A person receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at the Cinecita film studio in Rome on April 20, 2021.

While both Germany and Austria are moving towards making vaccines mandatory, Italy is instead tightening restrictions on free time without vaccination at the most favorable times of the year – while reducing immunizations as usual or allowed to live longer.

With an eye on the holidays, Switzerland is allowing event organizers to ban anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 from Monday, and Sweden, with more than 100 Introduced a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate for indoor events. People indoors from 1st December

On 12 November, the Danes reintroduced a phased coronavirus pass, which must be shown by everyone over the age of 15 when entering nightclubs, cafes, party buses and indoor restaurants, but also at indoor events if more than 100 There are more spectators/participants. This also applies to outdoor events where the number of people exceeds 1,000 spectators/participants.

Italy’s vaccination rate is higher than that of many of its neighbours, with 85% of the eligible population 12 years of age and older and 77% of the total population. But people in their 30s, 40s and 50s have proved most reluctant to be vaccinated, with about 3.5 million still not receiving their first dose.

According to Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s National Institute of Health, they are also in the same age group that are now being most affected by the virus.

So far the delta variant is prevalent, with only seven confirmed cases of Omicron in Italy, related to two businessmen returning from southern Africa.

With the holiday shopping season heating up, many cities, including Rome and Milan. Orders have been given to mandate masks outside as well.

  A tourist shows his green pass at the ticket office before boarding a gondola in San Vigilio di Marebe, South Tyrol, Italy on November 27, 2021.

Public health officials say vaccination, along with prudent public behavior, including wearing a mask indoors or out in crowds, is the key to reducing infection levels as the winter season pushes for more activities indoors. . They attribute Italy’s relatively high level of vaccination as a reason why the infection curve is not as sharp as last winter, when widespread restrictions were imposed with the spread of the delta variant.

“It is clear that two years after the pandemic, we cannot simply close schools to physical classes and shut down economic activity,” said Gianni Rezza, the health ministry’s prevention director.

“So, you can try to stop the virus from spreading with sustainable measures and the proper use of health passes. Then, the big bet is on vaccination,” he said.