Government ministers have been holding talks throughout this week on plans to further expand the use of the ‘green pass’ health certificate, potentially making it a requirement to access schools and workplaces and some forms of public transport, including long-distance trains.
An official announcement is expected later on Thursday, though media reports suggest that the government is likely to make the document mandatory for staff at schools and universities from the start of the new academic year in September.
Ministers are also expected to announce that university students will also need to show the pass, news agency Ansa reports, while discussions are still ongoing about whether to extend the requirement to high school students.
Italy is already preparing to make the health pass compulsory for entry to many cultural and leisure venues from Friday, August 6th.
The debate over whether the requirement should be introduced in schools comes as ministers debate whether vaccination should be made mandatory for school staff, as is already the case with healthcare workers in Italy.
Around 90 percent of Italian school staff are now vaccinated, according to health ministry data.
What sort of sanctions school staff or students could face if they don’t show the green pass “remains to be defined”, Ansa writes.
The government has reportedly decided against making tests free for students because of concerns it could discourage them from getting vaccinated.
However, the government has said it will include a cap on the price of testing for everyone in a set of new green pass-related measures due to be announced by Friday.
At the moment, the cost of testing varies considerably around Italy, with rapid antigenic swab tests costing anything from €15 to €50 depending on which region you’re in.
Free tests are available from the Red Cross at the main train stations in major Italian cities, however the government has not indicated that it has any plans to expand the availability of free testing.
Some 47 percent of people in Italy have already obtained their green pass, according to surveys carried out by business association Confesercenti, and another 20 percent are in the process of trying to obtain it, newspaper La Stampa reports.
However, 21 percent of those polled said they didn’t want the certificate and wouldn’t be getting it.
With widespread reports of people experiencing technical difficulties and delays in accessing the pass, the government has updated the official website with new download options and said people can also continue to use paper certificates as proof until August 12th.
Just over 62 percent of the Italian population aged over 12 is fully vaccinated as of Thursday, though some people who want the jab are still reporting difficulties and delays in accessing it.
The government last week set a new target of having the entire population over 12 vaccinated by the end of September.