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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italy makes Covid ‘green pass’ compulsory for school staff and on public transport from September

The Italian government announced on Thursday night it would make the coronavirus health pass obligatory for teachers as well as passengers on some forms of public transport from September.

Italy makes Covid ‘green pass’ compulsory for school staff and on public transport from September
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The italian health certificate, known as the ‘green pass’ will already be required from Friday to enter cinemas, museums and indoor sports venues, or eat indoors at restaurants.

The health certificate proves bearers have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or have tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

EXPLAINED: Where will you need to show a Covid ‘green pass’ in Italy from August 6th?

The rule will apply to passengers on domestic flights, ferries and long-distance trains from September 1st.

Under the new decree law, school and university staff will need the pass in the new school year, as will university students. 

School staff who are without passes for five days straight will be suspended and have their pay frozen, Italian media reported.

Education minister Patrizio Bianchi told a press conference that over 86 percent of school personnel had been vaccinated, and that the number may be closer to 90 percent.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Health minister Roberto Speranza called on families to give the jab to children over 12 years old, and said the price of rapid covid detection tests would be cut for teenagers.

Speranza said the pass was key to curbing rising Covid-19 cases.

“The numbers are encouraging, with 70 million (vaccine) doses administered,” Speranza said, adding that the use of the green pass would “avoid closures and protect freedom”.

The minimum quarantine period for people who test positive for the virus or have been in contact with a Covid-19 patient was also reduced for those who have been vaccinated, from 10 to 7 days.

OPINION: Covid passports are Italy’s only choice – but they must be a right, not a privilege

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 issued by vaccination centres 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.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details on the official website (currently only available in Italian).

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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italian government begins talks on Covid ‘super green pass’

Italy is set to tighten the rules on its health certificate scheme from December as Covid-19 contagion and hospitalisation rates continue to rise.

Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces.
Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces - but are the rules about to get stricter? Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Note: This article is no longer being updated. Please find the latest news here.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will hold a meeting with regional leaders on Monday evening, beginning several days of talks on a new government decree which is expected to be announced by Friday, reports national broadcaster Rai.

As the health situation has worsened across Italy in recent weeks – particularly in the north-eastern regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and the autonomous province of Bolzano – leaders of local governments are increasingly pushing for new measures, mainly in the form of further restrictions on the unvaccinated under a so-called “super green pass” scheme.

KEY POINTS: Italy’s new plans to contain the Covid fourth wave

Italy began rolling out its health certificate or ‘green pass’ for domestic use in August, initially making it a requirement at many leisure and cultural venues such as cinemas and indoor restaurants, before extending its use to workplaces and some forms of public transport. 

The certificate shows that the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recovered from the disease within the last six months, or has tested negative in the last few days.

Instead, the proposed ‘super green pass’ would only be issued to those who are vaccinated or recovered, with passes issued based on testing in future only valid for entry to workplaces.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

While no concrete decisions have yet been made, sources within the health ministry have indicated that it is considering the measure for any region declared a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone.

“Closures and restrictions must not be paid for by the vaccinated,” said Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa, adding that the ‘super green pass’ plan would “guarantee the unvaccinated access to workplaces and basic needs, but certain activities such as going to a restaurant, cinema or theatre should be reserved for the vaccinated if the situation worsens.”

“It is clear that we must bring in new initiatives,” he said in an interview with Sky TG24 on Sunday.

EXPLAINED: Will Italy bring in a Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated?

At the moment all of Italy remains in the lowest-risk ‘white’ zone, with few health measures in place.

However several regions are now nearing the thresholds at which they would be moved into the ‘yellow’ zone next week, and – if the situation continues to worsen – then risk being placed under orange zone restrictions two weeks later.

Costa said a planned third dose obligation for health workers “is already foreseen and I think it will be approved this week.”

Health Minister Roberto Speranza put forward proposals last week to make third doses obligatory for the healthcare staff already subject to a vaccine requirement, and also to cut the validity of Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate – the so-called green pass – from 12 to nine months for people who are vaccinated, including with a third dose.

READ ALSO: Italy to start Covid boosters for over-40s on Monday as infection rate rises

The changes have not yet been formally approved, but are expected to come in from December 1st under the planned new decree set to be signed into law by the end of the week.

Other measures the government is reportedly considering include cutting the validity of green passes based on PCR test results from 72 to 48 hours, and those from the results of rapid testing will be reduced from 48 to 24 hours.

There have also been calls from health experts and regional leaders to stop issuing green passes based on rapid test results altogether, as these are less reliable than the results of a PCR test.

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