As the holiday season draws nearer, Italy has tightened restrictions on unvaccinated individuals. They are now barred from all indoor venues, theatres, and museums in an effort to cut down the spread of coronavirus, and to encourage vaccination skeptics.

Only Italians who possess the Super Green Pass, which is a requirement that they double-jab rather than submit a negative Covid Test result, are eligible to participate fully in public life beginning Monday.

Italian police will verify that those who visit indoor venues, bars and concerts as well as sports events, public events, or theatres have the “super” green health pass. This will continue until January 15.

The restrictions follow a steady rise of Covid cases in Italy for the past six weeks, with 15,021 infections recorded on Sunday, and a concern about the new Omicron variant which is believed to be more transmissible than the Delta strain. 

Elsewhere in Europe, leaders have rushed in a raft of new lockdown measures and travel bans amid panic over rising cases and the arrival of the Omicron variant. 

Germany announced that it would lock down unvaccinated German citizens, and prohibit them from all public places in the lead-up to Christmas. French residents will need to prove their vaccinations to keep a valid Covid card which permits them to enter public venues.  

A visitor has his Covid health pass checked at the entrance to the Roman Forum in Rome on Sunday

An individual visiting the Roman Forum on Sunday must have their Covid health card checked. 

The restrictions follow a steady rise of Covid cases in Italy for the past six weeks, with 15,021 infections recorded on Sunday, and a concern about the new Omicron variant which is believed to be more transmissible than the Delta strain

These restrictions are in response to a rise in Covid cases across Italy over the past six week, when 15,021 infections were recorded Sunday. There is also concern about Omicron, which has been shown to be more transmittable than the Delta strain.

Italy’s vaccination rates are higher than those of many other countries. They account for 85 per cent of all eligible adults aged 12 years and over and 77% percent of the population overall. The most resistant group to getting vaccinated are those in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Nearly 3 million have yet not been vaccinated.

Silvio Brusaferro (head of Italy’s National Health Institute) said that they are the same age as those who have been most affected by the virus.

Austria and Germany have made mandatory vaccines, but Italy tightens restrictions for those who are not vaccinated during the most social times of the year. 

From Monday,  smart phone applications that check people’s health pass status will be updated and those who have merely tested negative in recent days for Covid will no longer be allowed into public events or public buildings. 

Also starting from Monday, people must have a normal Green health pass – which can be obtained with a negative test result – to access  local public transport and stay in hotels. 

With the holiday shopping season approaching, many cities including Rome and Milan have ordered mask mandates even outdoors. Pictured: Police officers stop a group of people in Rome on Saturday

Many cities, including Milan and Rome have placed orders for mask mandates outside as the holiday season approaches. Photo: On Saturday, police stopped a group in Rome.

The prefect of Milan stated that health cards will be verified before anyone is allowed to ride the subways or buses.  

Numerous cities such as Milan and Rome are placing orders for outdoor mask mandates to celebrate the holidays. 

Officials from the public health department say that vaccinations and prudent public behavior, such as wearing masks when in crowds are crucial to reduce infection rates, especially since winter brings more indoor activities. 

One reason the infection curve has not been as steep is because of Italy’s high immunization. This was before there were strict restrictions on the spreading of the delta variant.

Gianni Rezza (director of prevention for the Ministry of Health) stated that it was clear after the two-year pandemic that schools cannot be closed to students and economic activity can not be stopped.

“There are several ways to try and stop the spread of the virus. These include sustainable measures, proper usage of the health pass, as well as taking preventative steps. The vaccinations will be the biggest wager, he stated.

Annamaria di Capua is a Health Worker. She told Reuters, “I have seen firsthand what the employees of public health have endured and what it has cost people and their families.”

“All measures are necessary and helpful.” 

According to the Health Ministry, there were 43 deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, compared with 75 for the previous day. Meanwhile, new infections reported daily dropped to 15,021 from 16,632. 

Anger is growing elsewhere in Europe over the strict restrictions that governments imposed to stop the proliferation of Covid cases, and the emergence of Omicron variants. 

Protestors clashed with police in the Belgian capital of Brussels on Sunday during demonstrations against tightened Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the government to counter the latest spike in coronavirus cases. 

Friday saw the introduction of new Covid restrictions by the Belgian Government. It was the third consecutive week that these rules were tightened in the wake of the current surge in cases.

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Canada, announced that primary and kindergarten schools would close one week earlier for the holidays season. Children must wear masks starting at age 6. Indoor events can only accommodate 200 people.

The government had previously closed down nightclubs and ordered that bars and restaurants close at 11pm every day for three weeks. 

Over 40,000 people marched in Vienna on Saturday against all the restrictions placed by European countries. 

Police used water cannons and tear gas in a bid to disperse masked protesters who set fire to plastic bins and rubbish in the street to block the road in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday

Water cannons were used by police to expel masked protesters, who had set fire to rubbish and plastic bins in order to block the roads in Brussels (Belgium) on Sunday. 

Belgian riot police walk past a burning bins as clashes erupt during a demonstration against Belgian government's measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 and mandatory vaccination in Brussels

Belgian police march past burning bins during clashes that erupted in protest against measures taken by the Belgian government to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and mandated vaccination in Brussels

Austria has placed the country in lockdown, at least until December 11, as leaders prepare a law that will make mandatory vaccinations. It is expected to go into effect by February.       

The government says that even if the parliament lifts the December 11 lockdown, the non-vaccinated will still be subject to the same measures as those who have been vaccinated. 

Germany now looks set to follow Vienna’s lead, with Angela Merkel announcing last that the unvaccinated will be banned from most public spaces in the run-up to Christmas as MPs begin debating a jab mandate – with the government in favour of putting one in place by February. 

Brussels expressed cautious support for mandates for vaccinations last week. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was time to consider making mandatory jabs compulsory for all member states. But she admitted that Brussels doesn’t have the authority to create a blanket law.

France, starting on January 15, has introduced restrictions that require all residents between 18 and 64 years old to produce proof of their booster vaccine within seven months. They also need to have a current Covid pass to be able to use restaurants, bars, or other public facilities.      

Leaders claim they were forced to take action due to rising cases rates, even before Omicron was introduced. It is believed that Omicron has the most infectious variant yet of Covid. 15 European countries have reported cases. There were warnings that the virus was probably in circulation for weeks before it was detected.

In an effort to slow down the spread of Omicron, countries have moved quickly to ban travel from Southern Africa (where it first appeared) and to tighten restrictions on other countries. Scientists are still trying determine how dangerous the virus is.

Germany last week announced that most public spaces will be off-limits for the unvaccinated in the near future, with parliament debating making jabs mandatory for everyone from February next year

Germany’s government announced last week that the majority of public areas will not be accessible to unvaccinated people in the near future. The parliament is also considering making vaccination mandatory starting next February.

Greece announces new restrictions following an increase in cases, and steep rises in deaths. The country, which has only 63% of its population being vaccinated against Covid infection, is at risk of a new winter epidemic.   

With 17 per cent of its over-60s unjabbed and 90 per cent of Covid deaths happening in this age group, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis this week announced that jabs will be compulsory for this age group from January.

From January 16, anyone in breach of the rules will be fined £85 per month for every month they do not comply.

Switzerland permitted a country to vote whether it wanted to place health passes in indoor public places. The result was unexpected and passed by 60 percent.

Since September, the pass, which can be used to verify that a person has been vaccinated against Coivd or has had a negative test, or is otherwise healthy, was in effect. The vote has now been approved by voters.

A fourth wave of Covid cases has led to the Netherlands imposing a midnight curfew, and requiring that face masks be worn in public areas.    

Non-essential shops must be closed by 5pm at night. Essential shops may open up until 8pm. You will also need a Covid Pass to be able to access most businesses.

You can only host four guests at your home, and all sporting events should take place behind closed doors. No amateur sport can take place after five o’clock in the evening.