We try to make sense of a mass of restrictions
through Nicholas Harris
The Canadian province of Quebec announced last week that it would impose a health tax on the 12.8% of its citizens who are still unvaccinated. Although the amount of the tax has yet to be announced, the province’s premier insists it will be ‘significant’ and will be in addition to existing requirements to present a vaccine pass to access government cannabis and liquor stores. We looked at restrictions elsewhere, roughly ranking countries by their level of anti-vax stringency, from strictest to least strict:
1. China 🇨🇳
It has to be number one – one of the few countries that refuses to give up on its ‘Zero Covid’ dream. Parts of China have required vaccination to access public transport, schools, nursing homes and hospitals since the last summer. There is further reports in some provinces where unvaccinated people have faced welfare cuts and police harassment, and in Nanchang, authorities will pay people to report unvaccinated neighbors. There are repeated draconian lockdowns for entire cities based on a tiny number of cases.
2. Austria 🇦🇹
In November, Austria placed two million people who had not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in confinement for ten days. Anyone who breached the unvaccinated lockdown was fined 500 €. At Christmas, unvaccinated Austrians were allowed to gather in groups of no more than ten, while the vaccinated were allowed to congregate up to 25 people. Containment for the unvaccinated stay in place, and proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is required to access non-essential businesses and services. The Austrian government is work on a bill make vaccinations compulsory from 1 February.
3. Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Because August last year, vaccination was made compulsory for all workers in the private and public sectors, or for access to government buildings, shops or educational establishments. Saudis are also not allowed to travel abroad without the jab.
4. Italy 🇮🇹
At October 15 Italy has become the first country in Europe to introduce a Covid passport, or “green pass”. Without proof of vaccination, negative test, or proof of recovery from Covid-19, Italian citizens were unable to access public spaces and government or private workplaces. This month, the rules have been further tightened.
the introduction of the ‘super green pass’ means that anyone over the age of 12 will no longer be able to use public transport, go to the gym, dine out, have a drink in a bar or enter a hotel or cinema unless they are vaccinated or to have recovered from the Covid.
5. Fiji 🇫🇯
In July 2021, the Prime Minister of Fiji has announced that all public and private sector workers need at least one vaccination or risk unemployment, telling his people in a televised address, “no shots, no work”.
6. Indonesia 🇮🇩
Covid vaccines have been mandatory across Indonesia since February 2021. The mandate is enforced by the removal of social assistance and a fine of five million rupees (£270).
7. Canada 🇨🇦
From last november, unvaccinated Canadians over the age of 12 could not board a passenger plane or train. In December The Government of Canada has announced that employees in all federally regulated workplaces will be required to be vaccinated. The new regulations are expected to come into effect in early 2022. Last week Quebec announcement plans to impose a “health tax” on residents who refuse to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons.
8. Malta 🇲🇹
From next week, a vaccine pass will be required to enter most public places, including bars, restaurants and cinemas. However, the double vaccination is only valid for three months, while a booster completes a pass for up to nine months.
9. Greece 🇫🇮
From July, only vaccinated customers were barred from indoor bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres. At November 30, the Prime Minister announced that vaccination would become compulsory for those over 60, punishable by a fine of €100 for each month that an individual remains free of a shot.
10. Singapore 🇸🇬
From December 8, unvaccinated people who catch Covid have to pay their own medical bills.
From August, the French demanded a health pass (vaccine or recent negative test) to access restaurants, cafes, cinemas or trains. From the middle of January, the government plans to institute a vaccination passport for access to these public places.
12. Australia 🇦🇺
Restrictions vary by region, but vaccine passports are generally required for restaurants, bars and cinemas. Restrictions are expected to increase however, the Premier of Western Australia this month announcing that vaccine passports will be required for almost all public and private buildings, including hospitals, care homes, play centers and gymnasiums.
13. Germany 🇩🇪
Because December, the Germans demanded either a vaccination passport or proof of recent recovery from an infection to go to bars and restaurants. There are talks to expand this to a full vaccine mandate in the coming months.
14. Spain 🇪🇸
The rules vary in all Spanish regions, with some requiring Covid passports to access public spaces indefinitely, some requiring them until January 15, and some having no additional restrictions.
15. United States 🇺🇸
In September, the United States announced that companies employing more than 100 people must ensure they are fully vaccinated or conduct weekly tests. This was rejected by the Supreme Court on January 14, which said that while such a mandate might be legal for healthcare workers, it was not when applied so broadly.
16. Netherlands 🇳🇱
Because September, anyone over the age of 13 was required to show proof of double vaccination, recent infection or a negative test to enter public places, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas and museums.
17. Sweden 🇸🇪
Because November, Sweden has imposed vaccine passes (with test or recent infection not accepted) for public gatherings or events of more than 100 people. Restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums, etc. may require vaccine passes, but this is not a legal requirement. Health officials are, however, advising companies to make greater use of passes as cases rise.
18. United Kingdom 🇬🇧
At present, vaccination is only compulsory for social workers and NHS workers, who have up to April 2022 to get their jab. Otherwise, Covid past are required for some indoor events and large venues, but are also available for those who test negative within 48 hours.
19. Finland 🇫🇮
The Finnish government has until now only made vaccinations compulsory for health and care workers.
20. Brazil 🇧🇷
Brazil currently has limited rules on coronaviruses of all kinds, with no national mask policy, easily accessible home testing or movement restrictions. Its president, Jair Bolsonaro, himself shameless, has repeatedly questioned the efficacy of vaccines, calling the Omicron variant a “vaccine virus” instead.