Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin reiterated the continued requirements in a decree issued April 20. The cardinal referenced an earlier decree issued March 30 by Archbishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga, the president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. According to Alzaga's decree, COVID-19 restrictions in the Holy See applicable for both personnel and visitors are extended until the end of April.
Parolin said the decree was issued due to the continuing pandemic situation that "requires specific extraordinary and exceptional measures to counter it and ensure the safe conduct of activities," the National Catholic Register reported.
However, the reason for the edict's issuance was unclear as only 10 days remain before the deadline indicated in Alzaga's March 30 decree.
Despite reporting no COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic's onset in March 2020, the Vatican has imposed some of the most stringent guidelines to curb COVID-19.
Since Dec. 23, 2021, "all staff, external collaborators and visitors" are required to show their Super Green Pass to enter offices or other buildings in the Holy See. The Super Green Pass is issued to individuals who receive three COVID-19 vaccine doses or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months, but not to those who can only present a negative COVID-19 test result.
While the Holy See allows limited medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine on a case-by-case basis, religious exemptions are not allowed. Vatican employees who fail to obtain a Super Green Pass are deemed to have committed "unjustified absence," which comes with the penalty of a pay suspension. (Related: Pope Francis completes Vatican's submission to satanism by mandating spike protein injections for all visitors and workers.)
FFP2 or N95 masks remain mandatory in all enclosed spaces in the Vatican. Those attending masses and taking part in papal audiences at St. Peter's Basilica are also required to mask up. Visitors to the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Gardens, the pope's summer home-turned-museum Castel Gandolfo and papal villas need to present a Green Pass to enter. Those who can show proof of a negative test can have the the Green Pass.
The Holy See's announcement came almost a month after Italy ended its state of emergency on March 31. While its mask mandate for indoor spaces is set to end on May 1, other restrictions will remain for months.
Restaurants and other leisure establishments still require the Super Green Pass, but they are rarely enforced. The Green Pass, meanwhile, remains required for long-distance transportation; tourists are also now allowed to present their own proof of vaccination. However, Italian health authorities have began fining unvaccinated individuals aged 50 and older 100 euros ($108) in early April.
Italy's relaxing of requirements does not apply to the Vatican due to the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which established the Holy See's independence.
The loosened COVID-19 requirements also coincided with the spread of the more infectious but milder B11529 omicron variant in Italy and other European countries. Vatican officials were not spared by omicron despite being vaccinated.
Parolin himself contracted the virus in recent months alongside his deputy Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, who serves as the substitute for general affairs to the secretary of state. Both spent several days in quarantine with mild symptoms, but have since recovered. The two Vatican officials received three vaccine doses.
On the same day Parolin issued his edict, the German Catholic news agency KNA reported that Archbishop Georg Ganswein has had COVID-19 since April 11. Ganswein, the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has likewise received three COVID-19 vaccine doses. He remains in quarantine as he continues to test positive for COVID-19.
Pandemic.news has more stories about COVID-19 measures in place at the Vatican and other territories.
Watch the news report by Church Militant below about Pope Francis' involvement with the powers responsible for COVID-19.
This video is from the Rick Langley channel on Brighteon.com.