Vatican State, the Toughest Covid-19 Restrictions in Europe

Countries like England and the Czech Republic have already relaxed measures. 

Gaudium Press English Edition

Newsdesk (20/01/2022 20:59, Gaudium Press) Days go by, Covid variants keep popping up, and so do the measures. Yesterday, European media reported that the vaccine passport in the Czech Republic, which required key professionals and those over 60 to be vaccinated, has been scrapped to prevent “deeper fissures” in society, according to The Guardian.

In England, government measures to tackle the pandemic are also changing.

Driven in part by public outrage, which blames Prime Minister Johnson for attending a party in the middle of a ban, the minister has announced that the government will soon end mandatory self-isolation for Covid-positive cases, probably on March 24th. And, that as of January 27th, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory, telecommuting will not be officially recommended, and a health passport will no longer be required to access nightlife venues and certain gatherings with large numbers of attendees.

“We must learn to live with Covid in the same way we do with the flu,” declared British Health Minister Sajid Javid, following Johnson’s announcements.

It is also quite likely that the government of that country will soon eliminate the need for those returning from abroad to present a Covid test.

Restrictions for travelers due to Covid around the world vary, from five countries that do not allow anyone or almost anyone to enter, Afghanistan, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and North Korea, to some such as El Salvador or Mexico, which lifted restrictions earlier this year, soon followed by the UK.

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New Vatican regulations as of November 23rd

In an opposite direction from the countries lifting the restrictions, the Vatican, as of last December 23rd, only allows people with a certificate of vaccination or Covid recovery to enter the offices of the Curia. These provisions apply to “all personnel of the Dicasteries, organisms and offices of the Roman Curia and Institutions related to the Holy See, and also extend to external collaborators, the personnel of outside companies, visitors and users,” according to Vatican News.

Furthermore, with the “progressive worsening of the health emergency situation,” according to the Vatican’s latest provisions, as of January 31st, 2022, the rules will be even stricter. Everyone who works with the public at the Vatican will be required “to certify that they have received a booster vaccine after the primary cycle,” that is, after the 120th day of the second dose. This includes all Vatican employees, including those in extraterritorial areas. Those who fail to justify themselves will be considered unjustified absentees. In other words, they will be fired.

The latest Vatican decree in this regard also states that the measures already defined are understood without prejudice to other restrictions that may be imposed on people coming from countries with a high risk of contagion.

It has also been established that on Vatican territory everyone must wear a specific type of mask, FFP2, although the Pope himself, as they jocularly comment, is the first “violator” of this rule. It should be clarified that the Vatican rule is stricter than the Italian rule, which requires the use of this more expensive type of mask only in some places.

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The fines provided for in case of violation of the rules issued by the Vatican government range from 25 to 1500 euros.

In short, as can be seen from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Covid Restrictions Map – which does not yet contain the specifics of the new Vatican regulation, but merely repeats the Italian one – the Vatican State is the strictest in Europe and one of the strictest in the world in terms of limitations against the pandemic: it is one of the few that explicitly requires the third dose of the vaccine and a unique and specific type of mask to be worn everywhere.

To access the Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica, no vaccine passport is required. At least for the time being.

Compiled by Roberta MacEwan

 

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