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COVID-19 RULES

Italy sets fines of up to €1,000 for breaking Covid ‘green pass’ workplace rules

Following the Italian government's approval of legislation to extend the Covid health pass to selected workplaces, those found breaching the rules will be subject to fines running into hundreds of euros, confirmed the decree.

Italy sets fines of up to €1,000 for breaking Covid 'green pass' workplace rules
Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Staff working in schools, universities and healthcare facilities who are found without a ‘green pass’ will be sanctioned with a fine ranging from €400 to €1,000, according to reports of the draft decree approved by the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

Punishment will be applied both to workers who do not have the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ and to managers and employers who are in charge making checks.

Italy’s ‘green pass’ was made mandatory for cleaning companies and canteen staff working in schools and universities, as well as external workers in the healthcare sector.

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

“Until December 31st 2021, the end of the state of emergency, in order to protect public health, anyone accessing all the facilities of educational and training institutions must possess and be required to display the Covid-19 green certification,” read the draft decree on the extended Covid passport.

The new decree contains the requirement for employees in the educational and healthcare sectors to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery at workplaces.

In education, it applies to anyone entering a school but not to students and those who are exempt from the vaccine.

As the new school year gets underway, reports showed that one third of all Covid-19 cases in August were detected in children and young people between 0-19 years old, caused by the spread of the Delta variant.

And while the ‘green pass’ is required for everyone entering schools, except students, schoolchildren in Italy could also be exempted from the requirement to wear a mask if the entire classroom is vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Italy to begin third dose rollout as Covid vaccination campaign nears its target

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.

Extending the Covid-19 health pass is also hoped to encourage an uptake in vaccinations, as the governmen aims to reach the national target of vaccinating 80 percent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September.

Just under 73 percent of the eligible Italian population have now been vaccinated, according to the latest government data.

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 RULES

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

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

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”

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