New anti-Covid measures for entry to Vatican and Curia offices
As of Thursday 23 December, access to Roman Curia offices will be permitted only to those in possession of a certificate attesting to vaccination or recovery from SARS-Cov-2.
A new general decree, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, lays down new rules "in view of the continuation and worsening of the current health emergency and the need to take appropriate measures to counter it and to ensure the safe carrying-out of activities".
The new decree - which follows an ordinance on public health emergencies published on 16 December (No. CDLXI) by the President of the Pontifical Commission of Vatican City State, Archbishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, applies to the personnel of all Dicasteries, Councils, and offices of the Roman Curia, as well as to Institutions connected to the Holy See. The rules are also extended to external collaborators, personnel of outside firms, visitors, and users.
According to the decree, staff without a valid “green pass” proving the state of vaccination or recovery from the virus, will not be able to access the workplace and will be considered a case of unjustified absence, with the consequent suspension of pay for the duration of the absence. This will have no consequence on social security and welfare deductions, nor on family allowances. A continuation of unjustified absence from work will incur the consequences provided for in the General Regulations of the Roman Curia.
All those who serve in contact with the public, from 31 January 2022, will be obliged to provide official documentation proving they have received the full anti-Covid vaccine including the third booster dose.
In addition to the controls entrusted to the Vatican Gendarmerie, the decree establishes that each institution is required to verify compliance with the requirements, with a series of procedures for organizing these checks and identifying those responsible for the verification and dispute of violations of obligations. As far as the Dicasteries are concerned, the undersecretaries are considered responsible for ensuring compliance.
Any evaluation of elements leading to a possible exemption from the obligations of the ordinance falls under the responsibility of the Secretariat of State, and is subject to the opinion of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene.
The decree also states that the competent Vatican health authorities may deem it necessary to place further restrictions on people coming from countries with high risk of contagion.
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