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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italy to extend ‘green pass’ validity from nine to twelve months

The validity of Italy's Covid-19 health certificate will be extended to twelve months after a parliamentary amendment was passed on Thursday.

Tourists show their green pass before entering the Vatican Museums. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP
Tourists show their green pass before entering the Vatican Museums. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The extension, approved by the Chamber of Deputies’ Social Affairs Committee, is expected to be converted into law this week, reports the financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

The green pass will now be valid for a total of 12 months for vaccinated individuals, including those who have only received a single dose and those who have recovered from Covid – a three-month extension on its former nine-month lifespan.

EXPLAINED: How Italy has tightened the ’green pass’ rules in September

Elena Carnevali, the Democratic Party member who signed off on the amendment, said it was “a very important step and a decision made on the basis of scientific evaluations of the Cts (Italy’s Technical Scientific Committee) that confirm the effectiveness of the extension of the green pass’s validity,” according to a report in the Italian news site Fanpage.

The committee also passed an amendment that approves the use of salivary Covid tests, in addition to molecular PCR and rapid antigen tests, for receiving the green pass.

The pass is valid for 48 hours for individuals who test negative for Covid through any of these means.

The digital pass has been required since August 6th in order to enter many cultural and leisure venues across Italy, including museums, theatres, gyms, and indoor seating in restaurants; and since September 1st has also been a requirement for teachers and other school staff and for anyone wanting to take interregional public transport, while healthcare workers in Italy are legally required to be fully vaccinated.

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO/AFP

READ ALSO: Italy considers extending Covid green pass requirement to all key workers and state employees

The Italian interior ministry ordered police checks to be strengthened at train stations, ports and airports across the country from the night of August 31st after anti-vaccine protesters said they planned to disrupt the public transport network, Rai reports. However, no major disruptions materialised.

In August, Italy’s Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said the ‘green pass’ should be made compulsory for public sector employees and key workers, “for example local public transport operators, employees of supermarkets and essential services, or those that have been operational during lockdown.”

Such a measure is now expected to pass by the beginning of October, with the requirement extended to employees of bars, gyms, and restaurants, as well as all state employees, reports the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

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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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