All restrictions for the unvaccinated in Europe

Following the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, where in recent weeks there has been a marked increase in positive cases and deaths, in many European countries there has been discussion about the advisability of adopting new lockdown selective concerning people who, although they can do so, have not been vaccinated.

The issue ended up at the center of political confrontation in Europe after the Austrian government applied a lockdown for the unvaccinated, which lasted for a few days and replaced with the recent decision to move to a generalized closure due to strong infections growth.

So far, many European countries, including Italy, have shown themselves reluctant to adopt specific limitations against non-vaccinated people, focusing rather on binding access to public places to those who have a certification (such as the Green Pass) that certifies the occurred. vaccination, negativity to a coronavirus test, or a recent recovery from COVID-19. It is a system that offers an alternative to the vaccine so as not to be excluded from many activities, but which does not convince everyone because the tests are not always reliable. In any case, the Italian decision to extend the obligation of the Green Pass to all workplaces is almost unique in Europe for now.

Based on these considerations and a marked increase in positive cases, the Austrian government had at the beginning of November tax specific restrictions for unvaccinated people, preventing them from entering bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, hairdressers and beauty salons. Furthermore, they could not stay in hotels, participate in events with more than 25 people or use the ski lifts.

On November 15, the government then introduced a sort of partial lockdown for the unvaccinated, requiring all people over 12 who had chosen not to get vaccinated, even if they could, to leave the house only for reasons of absolute necessity. like going to work or shopping.

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The limitations affected several million people, given that only about 64 percent of the population was vaccinated against the coronavirus, but Austria has not had the opportunity to experience the measure that much.

On Friday, November 19, the government has indeed announced that from Monday there will be a generalized lockdown and that the obligation to vaccinate will also be imposed by February. However, the Austrian government has not provided details on how the checks on the obligation will be managed and if there will be sanctions for those who do not respect it.

In Germany, where a new wave is underway which is starting to put hospitals under great stress, it was decided to apply the 2G rule in regions with an incidence of more than 3 people hospitalized for every 100 thousand individuals.

2G actually provides for the exclusion of non-vaccinated people from numerous activities: for example, only individuals with a vaccination or who have recently recovered from COVID-19 will be able to access hotels and restaurants. Currently 13 out of 16 federal states are on the threshold.

In the event that there is an incidence of 6 hospitalizations per 100 thousand people, the 2G + rule will be applied. The difference with normal 2G is the need for vaccinated and recovered patients to test negative before entering particularly risky indoor spaces, such as bars and restaurants.

The federal government and local governments have also agreed to carry out more checks to ensure that the rules are being followed, as so far a lack of checks had been reported in many areas of Germany.

Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has adopted similar rules, which will be in effect starting next Monday 22 November. People who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus will not be able to access some public places or attend events with many people.

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Until now in the country to access restaurants, cinemas and to participate in public events it was mandatory to have the Green Pass, which, as in Italy, could also be obtained in a short-term format through a negative test for the virus. Due to the recent increase in infections in the country, the Czech government has decided to no longer consider the buffer sufficient to obtain the Green Pass: from Monday, therefore, only vaccinated and cured people will be able to have the certificate.

New approvals are pending in Slovakia rules that will prevent the unvaccinated from accessing gyms, hotels, shopping malls and sporting events. Instead, they will be able to continue to access their workplace if they periodically undergo a test for coronavirus, as is the case in Italy. The limitations could become more stringent in the coming weeks if the infections continue to increase significantly as has happened in the last few days.

Greece has also recently approved new ones limitations for those who are not vaccinated, which will take effect starting next week. Those who have not undergone the vaccination, even if they can do so, will not be able to access restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms and will not be able to do so even if they test negative as they previously did. The duration of certification for vaccinated people has also been reduced by a few months, bringing it to seven, in order to encourage the use of the booster dose.

Other European countries are considering whether to apply specific restrictions for the unvaccinated, excluding the possibility of resorting to tests for short-term certifications. It is being talked about in France, Spain and Italy, where the situation is worsening, but still not at alarming levels.

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In Italy, the government has so far maintained the rules introduced in mid-October, which are among the strictest in Europe and which provide for the Green Pass to access many places, including workplaces. The certification is also granted in the case of a negative test and lasts 48 hours in the case of an antigenic and 72 hours in the case of a molecular. This possibility had immediately received numerous criticisms, because the tests photograph the situation of the moment in which the sampling is carried out by means of a swab: a recently infected person could be negative and become contagious in the period of time in which the Green Pass is valid.

It is for this reason that some countries have chosen not to include testing in the mechanisms for awarding certifications. In Italy, an intermediate solution could go from maintaining the current system that includes the use of tests only for access to the workplace, requesting instead the Green Pass with a longer duration deriving from vaccination or recent recovery for access to restaurants. and other public places. However, this solution would complicate the verification systems and risk generating further confusions.

Alternatively, it was proposed to exclude the less reliable antigen tests from the systems to obtain the Green Pass, leaving only the option of molecular tests, perhaps with a reduction in the duration of the certification. However, even these compromise options could lead to new confusions with respect to any clearer rules on the total exclusion of tests from the systems to obtain the Green Pass.

The government is already addressing these issues, also comparing very different options, but it will hardly decide anything before next week when the so-called “control room” on coronavirus meets.

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