Italy is preparing for railroad protest against COVID-19 pass


Rome β€” The Italian government vowed on Wednesday to crack down on demonstrators threatening to block railroad tracks nationwide as a rule requiring a COVID-19 test or vaccine to use public transport for long-distance domestic travel.

To limit the spread of the infection when Italians return from summer vacation, the government needs to show a so-called “green pass” a few weeks ago to catch domestic flights, trains and buses traveling between regions. Was announced.

The pass proves that the carrier was vaccinated at least once more than 15 days ago, was negative in the last 48 hours, or recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months.

This requirement also applies to sea travel, but some include ferries that serve small islands with no other connections to the mainland, and ferries used by commuters between Sicily and the southern tip of the mainland of Calabria. Ferries are exempt.

Local buses, trams and subways are also exempt from this rule. The rule was announced by the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi when the daily number of cases began to steadily increase as the delta form of the virus spread in Italy.

Virus outbreak Italy travel pass
Passengers, including American tourist Riley Smith (L), will board a high-speed train from Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence, Italy, to Rome, Naples and Reggio Calabria in Southern Italy on September 1, 2021. (Karl Ritter / AP photo)

Opponents of the requirement vowed to occupy railroad tracks and stop trains as needed, with sympathizers gathering at about 50 stations, including Rome and Milan, on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this summer, Green Pass requirements began for indoor dining in restaurants, access to the gym, and attendance at crowded events such as concerts.

On the eve of the transport rules coming into force, Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Ramjuze said there was no tolerance for law-breakers against opposition opposition and violence.

“Illegal activity in the protest initiative at the station is not allowed,” Ramju said, organized Wednesday.

Virus outbreak Italy travel pass
Passengers will hold the phone at the checkpoint at Stazione Centrale Station in Milan, Italy on September 1, 2021. (Claudio Furlan / LaPresse via AP)

So far, about 70% of Italian residents over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated. However, experts have expressed concern that many people in the 50-69 year old group are not vaccinated and are not enrolled in the vaccine.

New requirements have been announced with digital displays and speakers at major train stations in Florence.

β€œIt’s great because it allows us to travel more safely,” says Arianna Bini, the manager of a 48-year-old pharmaceutical company waiting for the train to Ravenna. “I travel a lot, so I feel more at ease.”

On a high-speed train from Milan in northern Lombardy to Reggio Calabria on the “toes” south of the Italian Peninsula, the conductor asked passengers to show their pass with their tickets. US tourists presented their US vaccination card (CDC vax card) and were asked for a passport.

26-year-old Riley Smith from Newyork, who was traveling to Naples with a friend, said she knew what to expect. “New York has just gone through similar steps. I think it’s good overall.”

Other countries have adopted or are trying to implement similar requirements.

The Turkish Ministry of Interior has ordered all domestic travelers over the age of 18 to provide evidence of complete vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative PCR test result. In a circular issued on Tuesday, the ministry stated that the requirements apply to intercity buses, trains, and air travel starting September 6.

Greece applies the same rules for domestic travel as it does for overseas travel. The national certificate requirements are similar to those for long-distance domestic travel in Italy. Individuals without proper qualifications cannot board.

On August 9, France enacted “health pass” requirements for domestic transport applicable to high-speed, intercity, night trains, long-haul domestic flights and bus travel.

According to the French railway, 97% of travelers have created a travel pass based on pre-boarding checks.

This requirement prompted several weeks of Saturday protests by activists and others angry with the French government, along with compulsory vaccination of health care workers.

By Frances D’Emilio

Associated Press