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Vatican to expand Covid precautions: Vaccine, negative test, or certificate of recovery needed

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 09/21/21

Vatican follows plan set by Italy, and already in force at Vatican Museums.

The Vatican will be expanding the requirements already in force at the Vatican Museums since August: Visitors to Vatican City State will need to have a pass indicating that they have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it, or have a current negative test.

The rule won’t apply to those coming for liturgical celebrations. It will go into effect on October 1.

The Holy See has made a habit of copying its health policy on that of Italy. After the recent announcement of the Italian state to oblige all its citizens to present a health pass to access their workplace from October 15, the Vatican has followed suit.

On October 1, the “green pass” will be requested from all citizens or residents of the Vatican City State, as well as staff and visitors or those who will use the various Vatican services. The Vatican gendarmerie will review the passes.

“An exception is made for those who participate in liturgical celebrations during the time strictly necessary for the accomplishment of the rite,” indicates the ordinance. It will therefore be possible to attend Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica without showing a health pass but still following health requirements (masking, distancing, etc).

Uncertainty about audience and Angelus

The text does not mention the arrangements made specifically for the Pope’s general audience, which anyone can usually attend each Wednesday morning. During the heat of summer and the cooler winter months, the audience usually takes place inside the Paul VI conference hall. At other times, it is held outside in the Square.

The ordinance also does not mention the Angelus prayed every Sunday at noon by the Pope from the window of the Apostolic Palace, which brings together several hundred, or even thousands of people, in St. Peter’s Square.

For these two regular events, the Vatican is expected to soon specify the requirements.

In the Vatican, almost everyone is vaccinated

The directive, issued September 20, also applies to the Vatican extraterritorial zones listed in Articles 15 and 16 of the Lateran Treaty. Many Roman palaces belonging to the Holy See as well as places of study, such as the Gregorian Pontifical University, will thus be affected.

Since August, the health pass has been required to visit the Vatican Museums.

On the plane that brought him back from Slovakia on September 15, Pope Francis indicated that everyone was vaccinated at the Vatican, “except a small group for which we are studying how to help them.”

According to the latest figures from the Lazio region, Vatican City has vaccinated more than 25,000 people against Covid-19. Among them, employees, their families, diplomats accredited to the Holy See, and even vulnerable people living on the streets around this smallest state in the world.

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