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Mandatory vaccination, sanctions and fines in Italy: Peruvians tell how the country responds to the fierce advance of omicron

As in many parts of the world, Italy you are also seeing cases of COVID-19 because of the fierce advance of the omicron variant and the end-of-year meetings. Faced with this scenario, the European country has not hesitated to toughen its strategy to contain contagions. The terrible scenes recorded in the worst of the first wave are still very fresh in the minds of all the residents of that country.

READ ALSO | Italy adds more than 219,000 new coronavirus infections, its highest record of the entire pandemic

Italy It has been several weeks with infections on the rise and with an increase in hospital pressure. This Thursday 6 added 219,441 new cases of coronavirus, the largest record of the entire pandemic and that shoots total infections to almost seven million since February 2020, when the pandemic began in the country.

In one of its most drastic measures, the Italian Council of Ministers approved on Wednesday 5 by decree law the mandatory vaccination against coronavirus for all those over 50 years of age, that is to say half of the population.

Here they learned about the blow that the pandemic meant a year and a half ago. In short, they are taking better action. In Italy things are going very well in that field, they are one step ahead”, Mario Escobar, a Peruvian chef who has spent 19 of his 60 years in Italy, where he lives in the province of Viterbo, in the Lazio region, tells El Comercio.

He adds that the vast majority of citizens have taken this measure well, although there are those who are against it. “The government has those who oppose it in order. It seems great to me that vaccination is required because that prevents infections. Entire cities died here, nobody wants to see that again. Getting vaccinated is the solution”, Considers Escobar.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, various groups of people have opposed measures against the virus. In this 2020 photo, protesters gather in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo to protest restrictions put in place to curb coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. (Photo: Reuters) (GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE /)

From Rome, compatriot Yessica Calzada, a compatriot who has been living in the country of the boot for 16 years, also believes that the vaccine is necessary. She herself has seen close family members catch the COVID-19 in these last weeks.

Now we have more infections in Italy. Unfortunately, during the holidays families have gathered and that is where there has been a significant contagion. It is out of control and there is no way now to shut everything down again. No country is prepared for so much”, He tells this newspaper.

The GIMBE Foundation has warned that infections in Italy they increased 153% between December 29 and January 4 compared to the previous seven days, while the death toll rose 8.9%.

He comments that the news constantly reports that the new vaccination provision implies that whoever is not vaccinated will be fined. “There are quite a few people who are against it, but I think that the only way to combat this pandemic is with the vaccine. Those who have not been vaccinated are those with the highest risk of contagion. The only thing that can help us at this time is the vaccine”, He points out.

People queue in front of a pharmacy to undergo COVID-19 tests, in front of the Gothic cathedral in Milan, Italy, in December 2021. (Photo: AP)

People queue in front of a pharmacy to undergo COVID-19 tests, in front of the Gothic cathedral in Milan, Italy, in December 2021. (Photo: AP) (Luca Bruno /)

Severe measures

In addition to decreeing compulsory vaccination for those over 50 years of age, the authorities also extended the measure to university personnel, regardless of their age, thus equating them with school personnel.

Italy has already vaccinated 89.18% of the population over twelve years of age with at least one dose and 86.13% have completed the cycle, while the booster dose has been inoculated to 69.50% of the population that can receive it.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that from now on all people aged 50 and over will be checked to see if they have a “super green pass” before entering their workplaces. This certification is reserved for those who have a complete vaccination scheme or who have recently recovered from COVID-19.

The requirement to go vaccinated to work in both the public and private sectors will take effect on February 15. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica explains that 100 euros is the administrative penalty for those who do not comply with the vaccination obligation. The fines are much higher for those who try to enter the workplace without complying with the obligation: from 600 to 1,500 euros.

A bar owner checks a customer's Green Pass at the bar counter in Turin, Italy, on December 27, 2021. (Photo: EFE)

A bar owner checks a customer’s Green Pass at the bar counter in Turin, Italy, on December 27, 2021. (Photo: EFE) (ALESSANDRO DI MARCO /)

In addition, the Government approved the guidelines on quarantines in schools to guarantee face-to-face classes from Monday 10, when the Christmas holidays end, safely.

In response, a thousand directors of schools in Italy, out of about 8,000 in service, have just asked the government to postpone face-to-face classes until January 24.

A requirement was also approved for all employees or clients of esthetics and related establishments to present a negative test of coronavirus if they are not vaccinated or have not recently recovered from the disease. The same rule will apply for stores in shopping centers, banks and post offices. Pharmacy and food store employees and their customers are exempt.

Calzada assures that the authorities’ monitoring is constant and that those not vaccinated are in a registry that allows their easy location and reprimand with fines.

Meanwhile, Escobar emphasizes that current regulations are met in the country and that not being vaccinated really makes it difficult to integrate into a normal life.

You cannot go out without the Green Pass. It is impossible to walk without a mask, the fines for doing so are 300 euros. I earn 100 a day, I don’t want a fine and they are charged here. It is also impossible to work if you do not have the vaccines. In that sense the measures work well”, Says the Peruvian.

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