Italy on Thursday announced new anti-COVID 19 measures as infections have started rising again, mainly due to the highly contagious delta variant. The number of new coronavirus infections has doubled in the past week, with the country now recording more than 5,000 new cases daily. With fears that the number will continue to grow, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday evening outlined new rules that will go into effect Aug. 6 and continue through Dec. 31.
Draghi said the so-called Green Pass will be required in Italy for many services, including entertainment and leisure. The Green Pass certifies that an individual has received at least one vaccine dose, has tested negative in the last 48 hours or has recently recovered from the virus.
The rules make the Green Pass a requirement to eat in restaurants and bars and for outdoor sports events and museums, movie theaters, gyms, fairs and meetings.
Draghi said Italy’s economy is doing well and even growing more than other European countries. He said the Green Pass is essential to “to keep economic activity open” so people can enjoy entertainment “with the assurance they won't be next to contagious people.”
Health minister Roberto Speranza said 40 million Italians already have their Green Pass, adding that vaccination is the way to “put behind us the most difficult season that we have had to face.”
Draghi also appealed to Italians who have not yet received the vaccine to do so immediately to protect themselves and their families.
Further government discussions will be held beginning next week to decide whether Green Pass measures will be required for public transport, at school and in workplaces.
In the meantime, new parameters were adopted for how Italy’s regions will change color to indicate their level of COVID-19 risk. Their status will no longer be based on the number of infections but on the number of people in hospitals and intensive care units being treated for COVID-19.