Italy braces for protests over country's Covid health passport

Demonstrators gathered in Milan and Rome on Saturday evening to protest the Italian coronavirus health pass on the 18th consecutive week...


Demonstrators gathered in Milan and Rome on Saturday evening to protest the Italian coronavirus health pass on the 18th consecutive weekend of such rallies. The organizers considered that a strong performance was necessary to prove that they were a force to be reckoned with.

But the derisory participation in Rome – a few thousand vaccine skeptics denouncing the “dictatorship” during a demonstration at the Circus Maximus – and the inability of the demonstrators in Milan to dominate, or even reach, places where they did not have a permit, further showed that the opponents of the sanitary pass are a small minority and not a powerful movement.

Nevertheless, the police intervened to protect the businesses and prevent violence. Store owners have lamented the protests are disrupting business, especially as Christmas shopping escalates.

After a first large gathering in Rome in October which hijacked by violent neofascists and a surge in activity in Trieste, a northeastern port city, protests have subsided. Italy suffered one of the worst epidemics in the world at the start of the pandemic and, by now, most of the Italian public has adopted the vaccination. And while the country is experiencing some of the increase in the number of European cases, the increase in its caseload has been relatively small.

Roberto Burioni, a leading virologist at San Raffaele University in Milan, attributed Italy’s success in maintaining its Covid count in part to its aggressive vaccination campaign – over 73% of the population is fully vaccinated – and in part to its early intervention with the health pass. Requiring this certificate, known as the Green Pass, allowed Italy to avoid more drastic measures, he said, such as the National lockdown is enforced in Austria starting next week.

Mr Burioni also said the strict measures of the Green Pass, which is required to enter bars and clubs, may have motivated young Italians to get vaccinated.

“What is surprising is the vaccination rate for people between the ages of 19 and 29,” he said, putting the rate at nearly 84 percent. “It’s very high.”

As Italian authorities continued to urge people to get vaccinated against the virus, the government announced on Friday that it had successfully administered third doses of the vaccine to people, with 160,000 doses given in 24 hours. But around 6.7 million Italians over the age of 12 are still unvaccinated, in a country of just over 60 million people.

When the Green Pass was introduced last month, it was the most severe measure of this type in Europe, forcing the entire Italian workforce to get vaccinated, have recovered from the virus, or have frequent negative tests to earn a salary.

The government has said it has no plans to toughen the pass. But some senior ministers and politicians in the northern regions of the country, which share the border with Austria and other countries in which cases are skyrocketing, are urging that the swab option be removed, imposing mainly vaccinations.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Italy braces for protests over country's Covid health passport
Italy braces for protests over country's Covid health passport
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