Talks have started on the latest change to the nationwide Covid-19 health measures in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, as Italy reported a record high of 170,000 cases on Tuesday.
This will be the third Covid decree after the government already brought in two previous ones in as many weeks.
Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?
Included in the draft decree is the proposal to make vaccines compulsory for the most fragile members of society at greatest risk of falling seriously ill from Covid – those over 60 years old.
The move is hoped to reach the some 1.5 million people in this category who have yet to receive a single dose, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The far-right League party is in favour of a vaccine mandate for this age group. Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said this would be “precisely to protect the most fragile segments of the population”, reports news agency Ansa.
But Italy’s centrist Five Star Movement party is reportedly opposed to the idea. Its current leader and former prime minister, Giuseppe Conte said, “It seems paradoxical to reason about compulsory vaccination when even those who make themselves available for the third dose find it difficult to do so quickly.”
Other ideas on the table are extending the ‘super green pass’ to all workplaces, effectively meaning all workers will need to get vaccinated.
Only healthcare staff, police, teachers and emergency services workers are currently subject to mandatory vaccinations. While this is a possibility for all staff, it’s expected the government will approve expanding the super health certificate requirement.
The ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass health certificate, which proves vaccination or recovery, has already been made compulsory for access to almost all leisure, social or sporting activities in the country, but workplaces so far are not subject to the rule.
Also to be decided are the new rules on quarantine and distance learning for schools ahead of their return to class after the festive break.