Italy to require Covid-19 pass for leisure, entertainment venues

Rome, Jul 22 (EFE).- The Italian government announced Thursday that beginning Aug. 5, people will need to show a Covid-19 vaccine certificate to enter stadiums, museums, theatres, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and similar establishments.

“We want to avoid that a growth in infections leads to new closures and the instrument we have is the vaccine,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza told a press conference.

“So the message is: get the vaccination, get the vaccination, get the vaccination,” he added.

The so-called green pass will also be necessary to dine indoors at a restaurant. Nightclubs, scheduled to be re-opened in the coming weeks, are now to remain closed for the time being.

Along with the pass mandate, the Cabinet extended the pandemic state of emergency to the end of 2021 amid a worrying spike in infections.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who joined Speranza in front of reporters, said the measure was necessary “to keep economic activity open” and permit Italians to enjoy entertainment and leisure “with the assurance they won’t be next to contagious people.”

Nearly 29 million Italians, or 53.17 percent of the population over the age of 12, have been fully vaccinated, while more than 60 million people have had at least one dose.

“The vaccine campaign permitted the economy to revive,” Draghi said. “The first thing I have to say, is to invite all Italians to get vaccinated and to do it right away.”

Due to opposition from the right-wing Liga, one of the parties in the governing coalition, the Cabinet delayed until at September an expansion of the pass requirement to domestic travel via train, aircraft or long-distance bus.

The government is reviving its earlier color-coded scale for classifying the severity of the situation in Italy’s regions, but the classification will be based not on case numbers, but on hospitalization levels.

A region where 10 percent of intensive care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients will be coded yellow. ICU occupancy in the range of 20 percent to 30 percent will be coded orange, while anything above 30 percent will receive a rating of red.

Currently, every Italian region is a “white zone,” subject only to a requirement that people wear masks inside closed spaces.

Health authorities detected 5,057 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, compared with 4,259 the day before.

Covid-19 has claimed 127,920 lives in Italy, second in Europe only to the United Kingdom. EFE gsm/dr

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