‘Green pass’: Italy ready to launch travel health certificate ‘in a few days’

Italy’s Covid-19 emergency commissioner said on Wednesday that the country’s coronavirus health pass will be ready within days, after the European Parliament approved plans for travel within the bloc.

‘Green pass’: Italy ready to launch travel health certificate 'in a few days’
Italy has used paper certificates as a domestc version of the 'green pass' so far. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

“On the green pass, we are ready. It’s a matter of a few days,”.Emergency Commissioner General Francesco Figliuolo told reporters on Wednesday.

In Italy the certificate, also known as a Covid health pass or Covid immunity pass, is expected to be a requirement for travel and attending events this summer.

According to the government’s reopening timetable, the document will be required for those attending events such as wedding receptions and christenings from June 15th onwards.

It is also expected to be a requirement when attending concerts and going to nightclubs in Italy.

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.

The certificate, an be used for intra-EU travel from July 1st and should spare travellers the need for quarantine or further testing for travellers.

READ ALSO: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s health passport?

Tourism is already restarting in Italy in June. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The European Commission wants as many EU countries as possible to start issuing the passes earlier than July.

But it relies on countries launching their own digital Covid passes that can be recognised across the EU. The EU will not produce its own app or one standard document. 

READ ALSO: How to prove you have recovered from Covid-19 in Italy

As of Wednesday, nine EU countries were already issuing their version of the certificates – not including Italy.

Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia has stated that he would like to see the passes introduced earlier – as they are already being used by the competing tourist destinations of Greece, Spain and Croatia.

READ ALSO: How will the EU’s Covid passports work for travellers?

A spokesman for the EU Commission told The Local: “Every member state will need to develop their national implementation for the EU Digital Covid Certificate. National wallet apps could be developed, but are not the only option. Integration in existing tracing or other apps, commercial solutions, digital storage of PDFs and of course paper certificates are also possible.”

The EU Digital Covid Certificate can be presented either in digital format, on a smartphone for example, or printed out on paper.

It features a QR code for verification, which border officials and venue staff can use to check against digital signatures stored securely in Luxembourg servers.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”