A man has died and others are fighting for their lives after a slew of “corona parties” in Italy, where attendees went with the purpose of catching Covid.
The 55-year-old man died in Austria last week after being infected at a party in northern Italy.
Health officials believe the man was an anti-vaxxer who wanted to be infected with the virus to obtain a “green pass”.
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The passes are essentially vaccine passports that allow Italians to work, attend restaurants and use public transport.
There are at least three more people, including a child, now hospitalised in northern Italy after catching the virus at similar parties. Two of these people are in intensive care.
Local media, Il Dominiti, reported that there had been multiple accounts of people deliberately trying to get infected.
Spreading the virus on purpose is a crime in Italy under state emergency laws which are set to remain in place until at least December 31.
“We have received more than one account from doctors of patients who admitted to having been infected on purpose,” Bolzano anti-Covid unit Patrick Franzoni told II Dolomiti.
“[They do this] to develop antibodies, and to obtain the green pass without vaccination,” he said.
“There are long-term consequences and even young people can end up in hospital.”
He explained the anti-vaxxers would meet in outdoor areas of bars and hug, kiss and share drinks with someone who is infected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Europe was the only region in the world where Covid-related deaths increased last week, as Belgium’s Prime Minister said the continent was on “red alert”.
Within Europe, WHO said that the highest number of cases came from Russia, Germany, and the UK.