Covid panic grips EU: Italy to enforce lockdown on unvaccinated after thousands refuse jab

Italy: Politicians protest vaccine passport rules in Parliament

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In an attempt to stem a resurgence in coronavirus infections and prevent closures affecting everyone, Italy announced new restrictions for the unvaccinated on Wednesday, barring them from dining indoors in restaurants and bars; attending shows, sports events and public ceremonies; and entering nightclubs. The decision came after presidents of the most infected Italian regions pressured the government to crack down on the unvaccinated, worried that new lockdowns and restrictions would hamper the economic recovery in a country that imposed Europe’s first lockdown and experienced some of the pandemic’s most devastating consequences.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: “We want to be very cautious… we want to keep this normality.”

Speaking to reporters, Giovanni Toti, the president of the northern region of Liguria, said: “I don’t think that anyone prefers a lockdown to different measures for citizens who protected themselves with a vaccine and citizens who chose not to do it.”

He added: “We have to assure families, citizens and businesses that this country will not close again.”

Some anti-vaxxers in Italy have taken to extreme measures to avoid being jabbed.

One man is facing charges of fraud after turning up for his COVID-19 vaccine wearing a fake arm.

So determined was he to dodge the jab but still obtain a health pass, the anti-vaxxer may have paid hundreds of euros for the silicone prosthetic.

Elsewhere across Europe, further panic and protest are setting in as cases across the continent surge as winter approaches.

Belgian police fired water cannon on Sunday to disperse protesters opposed to compulsory health measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 8,000 people marched through Brussels towards the headquarters of the European Union, chanting “Freedom!” and letting off fireworks.

The crowd was smaller than the 35,000 vaccine and lockdown sceptics who marched last month.

Protesters were blocked from reaching the roundabout outside the EU headquarters by a barbed-wire barricade and a line of riot officers.

Across Europe, the spectre of hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients has led to a slew of anti-Covid measures, with reactionary street riots everywhere from Amsterdam to Vienna.

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Last Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen noted that with 150 million people in the EU unvaccinated, mandatory vaccination should at least be discussed.

Austria, last month became the first EU member to announce it would require citizens to get COVID-19 jabs.

The extraordinary move came just days after it introduced a lockdown for the unvaccinated, a restriction that went farther than other European nations in singling out the people who have been driving a worrying surge in hospitalisations.

Germany on Thursday enforced the same targeted lockdown on its unvaccinated citizens and signalled support for mandatory vaccinations.

Countries elsewhere are starting to consider similarly drastic measures to persuade more people to get shots, despite criticisms that low vaccination rates made them unrealistic and would deprive millions of earning a livelihood.

Days after his country’s scientists first reported the existence of the Omicron variant, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that authorities were looking into whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots for workers and for entry to some public spaces.

Kenya was one of the first African nations to introduce restrictions on the unvaccinated last week.

A report in the Sunday Times stated that the UK is also struggling over non-vaccinated people.

Doctors and nurses have stated that 90 percent of hospitalised cases of patients with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.

The extra pressure on NHS staff as winter approaches has become a burden on the already underfunded resources available.

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