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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italy records over one million Covid green pass downloads in a day

More than a million Covid 'green passes' were downloaded on Monday as Italy began its first working week under the newly extended health certificate rules, government figures showed.

A woman shows her downloaded green pass needed to access almost everywhere in Italy.
A woman shows her downloaded green pass needed to access almost everywhere in Italy. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Some 1,049,384 people in Italy downloaded their ‘green pass’ on Monday, marking a new record, according to government data.

The surge in downloads came after Italy extended its health certificate or ‘certificazione verde‘ system on October 15th, making it mandatory by law for all workers in Italy to show a green pass to access any workplace – with hefty penalties in place for those not complying.

READ ALSO: How Italy is enforcing the new workplace green pass rules

Now, all public, private, and self-employed workers across the country must produce a health certificate showing that they are vaccinated, recovered or have proof of a recent negative coronavirus test in order to enter any workplace.

While the latest extension of Italy’s health pass requirement has prompted an increase in vaccinations, the download figures show the vast majority chose to take a Covid test instead – around nine in ten of the green passes came from a swab yesterday rather than a jab.

Out of the more than one million downloads, some 914,000 green passes were granted following taking a swab test, while 130,000 were downloaded following vaccinations.

Italy recorded an increase in the number of first jabs administered last week, ahead of the green pass expansion to workplaces.

Around 400,000 first jabs had been administered since the week before, according to data presented by Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner on Friday.

Until last week, the number of first shots had been declining steadily since early August.

Italians queue to get their anti-Covid 19 vaccine.
People queue to get their anti-Covid 19 vaccine. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Those who refuse to be vaccinated will mostly only be able to attend work if they pay for their own tests either every 48 or 72 hours, depending on the type.

Those vaccinated are covered for 12 months after completion of the vaccination cycle, or if it’s their first shot, their green pass is valid until they get their second dose.

The pass requirement has already been in place for school and university employees and care home workers since September, and a vaccine mandate has been in place since April for anyone working in healthcare, including in pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

READ ALSO:

Also for the first time, the third dose of Covid vaccines outstripped first shots at 49,660 to 44,376 on Monday.

Italy began administering Covid booster vaccines to priority groups in September, based on those who are the most vulnerable.

Currently, people aged 80 years and over and staff and guests of residential care facilities for the elderly are receiving their third dose of an anti-Covid-19 vaccine.

A total of 642,415 third doses have now been administered, making up almost 8.5% of the population eligible for this booster.

81.4% of the Italian population over 12 years old is now fully vaccinated, making up some 43,965,128 people, according to the latest government figures on Tuesday.

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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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