Nobody was fooled by the silicone limb, and the man, in his 50s, was reported to local police following the incident on Thursday night in the town of Biella, northwest Italy.
“The case borders on the ridiculous, if it were not for the fact we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity,” the leader of the Piedmont regional government, Albert Cirio, said in a statement on Facebook.
He said the man’s actions were “unacceptable faced with the sacrifice that our entire community has paid during the pandemic, in terms of human lives, the social and economic cost.”
The fake arm incident came after a doctor in Ravenna was arrested last month for issuing fake vaccination certificates to patients who refused the vaccine.
Stricter health pass rules come in on Monday in Italy, meaning new restrictions for people who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Since August, a ‘Green Pass’ showing proof of vaccination, recent recovery from coronavirus or a negative test has been required for indoor dining in restaurants, to visit museums, cinemas, theatres and attend sporting events.
But from December 6th, these activities will be restricted to holders of a ‘Super Green Pass’, which is only available to those who have been vaccinated or recently had Covid-19.
The old pass was extended in October to cover all workplaces, and remains valid for this purpose, meaning the unvaccinated can still go to work by showing a recent negative test. It can also be used for access to public transport and venues deemed “essential”.
The new restrictions were introduced following an increase in Covid-19 cases, as the Italian government aimed to avoid new business closures and travel restrictions this Christmas.
Italy was the first European country to be hit by the pandemic in early 2020, but is currently faring better than many of its neighbours.
On Thursday, 16,800 new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, with 72 deaths.
Almost 85 percent of the eligible population (aged over 12) are already fully vaccinated, and this week the option of a booster dose was extended to all adults.