New restrictions are coming into effect in Italy as the government attempts to deal with a new wave of coronavirus and mounting fears over the Omicron variant.

Unvaccinated Italians will now have restricted access to certain services. The so-called 'Super Green Pass' requires proof of vaccination, not including a recent negative test result, and will be required to visit indoor restaurants, theatres and attend sporting and other public events.

The ‘normal’ green pass, which can be acquired with a negative Covid test result, may still be used on local transport and in hotels.

Healthcare workers have to be vaccinated, with this rule also applying to the police, military and school staff as from 15 December, Sky News reports. In addition, booster jabs will be made available to over 18s.

The main objective of the new regulations is to curb the resurgence of the pandemic and ensure the crucial festive shopping season can take place as normal. With the economy growing faster than the majority of other European countries, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi wants to ensure the momentum continues as he introduces reforms targeted at turning decades of stagnation around.

The country is facing another wave of infections, with 16,632 cases reported on Saturday and hospitals and intensive care units gradually filling up. There have been nine cases of the Omicron variant in Italy, reports Business Live.

Just 12.3% of Italians over the age of 12 – totalling around 6.6 million people – have not received the vaccination. Children between 5 and 11 are scheduled to start later in December.

“A vast majority of Italians have chosen to get vaccinated,” said public administration minister Renato Brunetta during an interview with Corriere della Sera on Sunday. “The strategy is to have more than 90% of the population with two shots.”

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