Rome The turnstiles are encircled in front of Villa Patrezi. All employees of the State Railways who wish to enter the palm-fringed building in the north of Rome must pass through the adjacent visitor entrance. Masks are mandatory here, disinfectant dispensers are hung on the walls.
If you want to go to the office, you have to pass two security guards who have set up next to the gray control poles: a fever is measured at the top, a QR code is scanned at the bottom. Only when the green tick appears on the screen can you continue to the site.
A strict 3G regulation has been in place in the Italian working world since October 15: only those who have been vaccinated, recovered or have recently been tested are allowed to come to work. Anyone who doesn’t have a “Green Pass” with them, whether it’s on their smartphone or in print, stays out – and gets fired without pay. The regulation applies across the country, to large corporations and small businesses.
While Germany is still debating whether that makes sense, the system has been in operation in Italy for four weeks. And so very smoothly.
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Mario Draghi’s government wanted to increase the vaccination rate with this measure. We worked: As of Thursday, nearly 84 percent of the population over the age of 12 was fully vaccinated. More than 86 percent had at least one dose.
Since the decision in September, the number of weekly doses has remained steady at more than one million. On the other hand, the number of Covid tests has risen sharply and has been between 400,000 and 500,000 per day almost steadily since mid-October. From June to August, tests settled at around 200,000 per day.
“I think third-generation regulation is good because no one is left out,” says Joachim Bernauer, director of the Goethe-Institut in Rome. He wants to avoid division in the workforce at all costs. “Even the unvaccinated should be welcome.”
He estimates that a small portion of his 150 employees across Italy have yet to be vaccinated. However, he is not allowed to query the status. “That’s why each of us is checked in the morning when we receive it via an app.” The examination does not show whether the certificate was obtained through testing, vaccination, or recovery. “We only get the name shown, if in doubt we can ask for ID.”
There are only three hot spots in Italy
All employers use the “VerificaC19” app, as well as restaurants, museums and other places of public life where the Green Pass has been mandatory since September. Anyone can download the app for free, for example to check nannies or cleaners at home. The majority of Italians agreed to the strict measures. To date, there have been only 900 rule violations in companies – with more than 1.5 million examinations by law enforcement officers.
The success of the regulations is clearly reflected in the number of casualties. The fourth wave also began in Italy, but in a less radical way than in Germany. On Thursday, the number of new infections reported was nearly 8,000, compared to more than 32,000 cases exactly a year ago.
Contrary to what was the case at that time, the situation in hospitals remains calm: 423 intensive care beds are currently occupied, and a year ago there were almost 3,000 beds. For seven days, the infection increased slightly and recently reached 73. From numbers like in Bavaria or Thuringia is far away here.
Currently, there are only real hotspots in the provinces of Bolzano (285), Gorizia (272) and Trieste (503). They are all in the north of the country – areas where anti-vaccination and coronavirus deniers are especially high.
From the start, the strongest protests against the green corridor in the working world were in Trieste. Initially four weeks ago, the staff wanted to close the important port on the site and thus paralyze all of the country’s logistics – but they failed.
more: Infection in Germany has reached a new level. Other countries are doing much better. What can we learn from abroad?