After Austria, Italy took the plunge.
Faced with sharply rising Covid-19 contaminations, the Italian government decided on Wednesday to introduce compulsory vaccination for all people over the age of 50.
"We want to slow down the contaminations curve and encourage Italians who have not yet been vaccinated to do so," Prime Minister Mario Draghi explained during the Council of Ministers having adopted this measure, quoted in a government press release.
"We are working in particular on the age groups that are most at risk of being hospitalized to reduce pressure on hospitals and save lives," he added.
28 million people affected
In detail, the decree-law imposes the vaccination obligation for people over 50 years of age who are not working and the possession of the vaccination pass from February 15 for all working over 50 years, as well in the public than in the private sector.
In fact, it is indeed a vaccination obligation for everyone over 50, since the vaccination pass, called in Italy "reinforced health pass", is only obtained with a complete vaccination cycle or after recovery from the Covid .
Italy has 59 million inhabitants, including 28 million over the age of 50, according to the National Institute of Statistics (Istat).
Read also Compulsory vaccine against Covid-19: after Austria, could France impose it?
On December 29, the government had already decided to require from January 10 the vaccination pass in transport, hotels, restaurant terraces, fairs and conferences as well as swimming pools and gyms.
Until now, to take the train and the plane, it was enough to be in possession of a "basic" health pass, which could be obtained through vaccination but also with a negative test.
The vaccination pass is currently already required for certain professional categories such as health personnel, school personnel and law enforcement personnel.
Faced like its neighbors with a very strong increase in contamination due to the Omicron variant, the peninsula has recorded in recent days high numbers of new positive cases: more than 189,000 on Wednesday and more than 170,000 on Tuesday.
In total, more than 1.4 million people are currently positive in Italy.
The first European country hard hit by the pandemic, Italy has recorded more than 138,000 deaths since the start of 2020.