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COVID-19 VACCINES

Italy expects to vaccinate 60 percent of over-12s by end of July

Italy has already fully vaccinated 55 percent of people eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine and is confident of reaching 60 percent by the end of the month, according to Italy's coronavirus emergency commissioner.

Italy expects to vaccinate 60 percent of over-12s by end of July
Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

“We still have a way to go, but we’re into the final mile,” said Francesco Figlioulo on Sunday.

Italy had fully vaccinated 55.77 percent of its population aged 12 up by Monday morning, according to the latest official figures, representing 30.1 million people.

According to the government’s most recent weekly report, 7 percent of over-80s are still yet to receive their first dose, followed by almost 12 percent of 70-79-year-olds and some 17.5 percent of 60-69-year-olds.

Over a quarter of 50-59-year-olds – 25.6 percent – still haven’t received either dose.

Around 2 percent of those working in the healthcare industry are unvaccinated and among people working in schools, one in six – just over 15 percent – are yet to get their first jab.

In nine of Italy’s 20 regions, the percentage of unvaccinated school staff is as high as 50 to 77 percent, according to Figliuolo. The government is considering making vaccinations mandatory for teachers ahead of the coming new school year.

READ ALSO: How Italy plans to avoid tightening Covid restrictions this summer despite rising cases 

Tourists wait for a boat in Venice. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

With Italy entering a fourth wave of Covid-19 driven by the rising Delta variant, the government continues to urge everyone eligible to get their shots. 

“We must insist. I believe that Italians are very clear that the vaccine is the essential weapon to put these difficult months behind us,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Sunday.

He and Prime Minister Mario Draghi last week announced a major expansion of the country’s health passport scheme as part of a strategy to avoid a new lockdown and boost vaccination rates.

“The green pass and vaccines are two essential tools to close this very difficult season and try to open another one – and we are freer if we are vaccinated. My appeal to all Italians is to continue to vaccinate,” Speranza added.

EXPLAINED: When, where and why will you need a Covid health passport in Italy?

From August 6th, people in Italy will need the pass to enter gyms, swimming pools, museums, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums and other public venues, including indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants.

It will serve as proof of being vaccinated, having undergone a recent negative coronavirus test, or having recovered from Covid-19.

Protests against the scheme took place in several Italian cities over the weekend, though multiple regions also reported a sharp uptick in vaccination bookings.

More than 33 million copies of Italy’s so-called green pass have already been downloaded, emergency commissioner Figliuolo told reporters on Monday.

READ ALSO:  How big is Italy’s anti-vax movement really?

An anti-green pass demonstration in Milan on July 24th. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

“Most of the cases reported in Italy have been identified in the last 14 days in unvaccinated individuals,” said Figliuolo.

Moreover, “a strong risk-reducing effect of Sars-CoV-2 infection is estimated in those fully vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people”, he said.

Over the last 30 days, 33 percent of diagnoses of Covid-19, 46 percent of hospitalisations, 71 percent of admissions to intensive care and 69 percent of deaths have occurred among those who have not received a vaccine dose, according to Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS).

READ ALSO: 

The ISS data indicates that the vaccine is over 70 percent effective in preventing infection in those who have had only one of two doses and above 88 percent for those who are fully vaccinated.

Preventing hospitalisation rises to 81 percent with the first dose and 95 percent with a complete cycle. The figures reach 89 percent and 97 percent for entry into intensive care.

In preventing death, an incomplete cycle is 80 percent effective and full vaccination is 96 percent effective.

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COVID-19 RULES

Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

After Italy recently removed most Covid-related restrictions, readers have been asking us what exactly to expect on upcoming visits. Here are your questions answered.

Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

Rules around travel to Italy and within the country have changed multiple times over the past two years. Unsurprisingly, they changed again just over a week ago.

On May 1st, Italy removed nearly all of its Covid-related social restrictions, including the so-called ‘green pass’ (or certificato verde), which was previously required to enter most venues across the country.

READ ALSO: Dining outdoors and hiking: How visitors plan to holiday in Italy this summer 

As the bel paese moves past its former state of emergency and opens up again to international tourism, we asked readers whether they’ll be travelling to Italy this summer. Most said yes, although some of you had doubts and reservations about the Covid restrictions currently in place.

And you had some questions for us, too – mainly about what to expect once you arrive in the country.

Below are our answers, based on the Italian government’s latest decree and the current advice from the health ministry.

If you’re looking for a detailed look at the entry rules when travelling to Italy this summer, please find more information here.

Q: Does Italy still have vaccine requirements in place?

A: A valid Covid vaccination or recovery certificate will be required to enter Italy until at least May 31st, when the current travel rules expire. 

As for travelling within Italy, as of May 1st, a valid health certificate is no longer required to access indoor venues and transport services. All visitors are free to travel across the country and enter restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres and other indoor locations without having to provide a valid health pass.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What Covid-19 are now in place in Italy?

The only exception is for hospitals and care homes, which will continue to require a ‘green pass’ or its equivalent in the form of a foreign-issued vaccine or recovery certificate until December 2022.

Q: What kind of masks do you have to wear when travelling by train?

A: The use of FFP2 face masks is mandatory on all means of public transport, so not just trains but also buses, ferries and so on. Those equipped with a different type of face covering will be prevented from using the service.

The obligation to wear face masks on public transport will remain in place until at least June 15th.

Please note that FFP2 face masks are also required to enter the following indoor venues: cinemas, theatres, entertainment and sport venues (but not museums or galleries).

READ ALSO: Where do you still need to wear a mask in Italy from May 1st?

Q: Will more restaurants and shops be closed than normal?  

A: No, quite the contrary. After a couple of rather grim years, things are apparently once again looking up for Italian tourism. 

According to a survey from market research institute Demoskopika, the number of domestic and international tourists in Italy is set to rise by 43 percent compared to 2021. The first signs of such expected recovery manifested themselves over the Easter holidays, when some of the most popular Italian tourist destinations recorded ‘pre-pandemic’ numbers of visitors. 

So, to answer the question, most local businesses will look to capitalise on the renewed inflow of both international and national tourists and will therefore keep their doors (and hearts, hopefully) open.

View of the bars in the Navigli area, Milan

After a couple of rather bleak years, bars and restaurants are ready to welcome back international visitors. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Q: I’m vaccinated but not ‘boosted’ and want to know if this is acceptable.

A: It is indeed. 

For the sake of clarity, here are the current rules on the topic.

Until at least May 31st when the rules expire (they may either be scrapped or extended after this point; The Local will provide updates when the deadline approaches), travellers may enter the country if they are asymptomatic and can present one of the following:

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Presently, EMA recognises the following vaccines: Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Vaxzevria Johnson and Johnson, Astrazeneca and Novavax. Please keep in mind that the minimum requirement is that you have fully completed the primary vaccination cycle (in this case, your pass will be valid for 9 months). For those who have already received a booster shot, the certificate is valid indefinitely.
  • A valid medical certificate confirming recovery from Covid (this is valid for 6 months from the positive swab test)
  • A negative molecular (PCR) test carried out within 72 hours of arrival in Italy or a rapid antigen test carried out within 48 hours of arrival

As previously mentioned, you won’t need a health pass (nor negative test result) to travel across the country.

Q: What type of health pass is needed for indoor dining from May?

A: None. No vaccination or recovery certificate is required to access bars and restaurants. Face masks are also no longer mandatory. 

Having said that, the use of face coverings in all indoor settings is still “strongly recommended” by the government. Furthermore, some local businesses have chosen to independently enforce stricter rules and only allow people equipped with a face mask to enter their premises.

Q: What are the current restrictions for hotels, restaurants and museums? 

A: There are no Covid-related restrictions (that is, not even face masks) for hotels, restaurants and museums.

However, as mentioned above, some businesses may choose to enforce their own rules and ask customers to wear a face covering. So, keep this in mind before you waltz into your local grocery store without a mask.

Musei Capitolini in Rome

Health certificates are no longer required to enter indoor venues, including museums and galleries. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Q: What are the isolation rules if you test positive while visiting Italy?

A: If you test positive for Covid during your trip, you will have to self-isolate at your existing accommodation and notify the relevant local authorities (Aziende Sanitarie Locali, ASL) as soon as possible.

The Italian quarantine instructions are a bit of a head-scratcher, therefore we’ll try to summarise them as follows:

  • Those who have received a ‘booster shot’, have completed the first vaccination cycle no more than 120 days prior to testing positive or have recovered from Covid no more than 120 days prior to testing positive will be required to self-isolate for at least seven days. 
  • All others will be required to self-isolate for at least 10 days, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.

You’ll be able to exit your quarantine period by taking a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

However, note that you will only be allowed to take such tests if you’ve shown no symptoms in the three days prior to the supposed date of the test. If you have, your self-isolation period will be extended. 

For instance, if you’re supposed to get tested on the tenth day of your quarantine but show symptoms on the ninth, you’ll only be able to get tested on the twelfth.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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