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TOURISM

Italy plans free Covid-19 tests for family ‘green pass’

Families in Italy with children under 12 could access two free Covid-19 tests per week to get the so-called 'green pass' for travel under new proposals, said Italy's deputy health minister on Sunday.

Italy plans free Covid-19 tests for family 'green pass'
(Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

The ‘green pass’ or certificato verde for travel and large events currently exists in paper format and is expected to be available in digital format by the end of June.

But as the document is actually a regular vaccination certificate for now, it means that children under 12 can’t access the health certificate.

READ ALSO: What is Italy’s ‘green pass’ for travel and how do you get it?

To make upcoming travel plans a possibility for families, Italy could offer free testing to families to allow them to get the paperwork they need to travel, Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri said on Rai 1’s TV show ‘Domenica In‘.

“In families that have children under 12 who cannot have the vaccine, it is clear that the children must take the swab test, which has a cost and it is right that this should be paid for by the state”, stated Sileri.

Tourists stroll along the basin in Venice. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

“It is obvious that, as the green pass comes into effect more, it is necessary to move in this direction in order to guarantee a number of buffers to families so that they can travel… I think it is necessary to guarantee at least two free swabs a week to families,” he added.

So far, Italy’s local health authorities have been given the green light to open coronavirus vaccination appointments to everyone over 12 years old, which began on Thursday.

As Italy eases its restrictions and as more regions turn into the lowest-risk ‘white zone‘, a green pass isn’t needed for travel between regions, but it will be needed for international travel.

READ ALSO:

The pass will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

Moving from the paper format “will soon become a computerised reality thanks to an application,” stated Sileri.

This is expected by the end of June but if family members over 12 are getting vaccinated before then – or have already had them – you’ll need to claim a vaccination certificate that will serve as your green pass in the meantime.

The exact procedure varies depending on where you get your shots and you can find out how you can get hold of your vaccination certificate here.

If you are travelling internationally, Italy’s testing and quarantine rules still currently apply even if you’re fully vaccinated.

Italy’s ‘green pass’ was first introduced to allow domestic travel between regions, and people who live in Italy can also use the pass to travel overseas and return to Italy without quarantining.

READ ALSO: 

Italy has continued to use paper certificates while it waits for the EU-wide travel pass scheme to launch.

When the digital version is rolled out, it should be possible to show a standardised vaccination certificate with a QR code on your smartphone using either IO – the government’s app for doing official admin – or Immuni, Italy’s contact tracing app, according to plans announced by Italy’s tech bosses.

“If we have a green pass, we have to believe in it. It must give us access to greater freedom,” stated Sileri.

“We should get to a point as soon as possible that you can even dance in a disco if you have a green pass. I don’t see how much of a risk there is if you dance with all the people who are vaccinated, tested or recovered. Let’s use this green pass,” he added.

For more information on the current restrictions and health situation in Italy please see the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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STRIKES

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travellers in Italy will face disruption again this month amid a new round of transport strikes. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travel in Italy was disrupted by dozens of localised strikes in January, and this is set to continue into February as Italian unions announced a further round of demonstrations affecting rail and public transport services in many areas, as well as airline travel.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

Here’s an overview of February’s main strikes, which are again mainly local or regional, but include a national public transport strike on February 17th and a nationwide walkout by airport ground staff on February 28th.

February 5th-6th: Trenitalia staff in the southern Calabria region will strike from 9pm on Sunday, February 5th to 9pm the following day. 

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 9th: Staff from Lombardy’s Trenord will take part in a 22-hour strike – from 2am to 11.50pm – on Thursday, February 9th.

It’s currently unclear whether Trenord will operate minimum services on the day. See the company’s website for further information. 

February 12th: Air traffic control staff at Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport will take part in a 24-hour strike action on Sunday, February 12th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the walkout will affect air travel to and from the airport on the day.

Travellers at an Italian airport

A national strike from ground service staff may cause delays and queues at many Italian airports on Tuesday, February 28th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

February 12th-13th: Trenitalia staff in Emilia-Romagna will strike from 3.30am on Sunday, February 12th to 2.30am on Monday, February 13th.

A list of guaranteed rail services in the region is available here.

February 17th: Public transport staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Friday, February 17th. 

The strike was called in late January by Italian union USB to protest against precarious work contracts and privatisation attempts by the Italian state.

There currently aren’t any details as to what percentage of workers will take part in the action or how widespread the disruption is likely to be.

February 19th: Trenitalia staff in the Veneto region will strike from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, February 19th. 

Guaranteed services are available here.

On the same day, there will be no service between Milan’s Milano Centrale station and Paris’s Gare de Lyon due to a strike from staff at France’s national railway company SNCF.

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

Empty train platform in Codogno, Lombardy

Staff from Lombardy’s regional railway operator Trenord will strike for 22 hours on Thursday, February 9th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

February 20th: Trenitalia personnel in Lombardy are expected to strike from 9am to 5pm on Monday, February 20th. 

Guaranteed services haven’t been made available yet. 

February 28th: Baggage handlers and other airport ground service staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday, February 28th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the strike will affect air travel during the day, though a similar demonstration caused significant delays and queues at some Italian airports in late January.

ENAV air traffic operators based in Calabria are also expected to strike on February 28th, with the walkout set to start at 1pm and end at 5pm.

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.

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