Italy considers keeping green pass until March as Covid numbers rise

Italian authorities are considering extending the 'green pass' rules and other anti-Covid measures in a bid to halt rising cases and prevent a new wave of infection.

Green pass rules and a state of emergency could be extended to stop a rise in Covid cases.
Green pass rules and a state of emergency could be extended to stop a rise in Covid cases. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

With a significant increase in positive Covid cases week-on-week, doubling within the last three weeks alone, Italy’s health ministry may extend the use of the Covid-19 health pass system until March, news agency Ansa reports.

Deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri predicted that people in Italy would be “free” this Christmas, in contrast to the ‘red zone’ holiday lockdowns in force last year. However, he stressed that for now there’s no talk of relaxing or abolishing the green pass rules.

READ ALSO: Italy’s Covid infections almost double in a week as vaccine rate falls

The ‘certificazione verde‘ or green pass as it’s called in Italy shows that the holder has been vaccinated, has recently recovered from Covid or has tested negative for the virus within the previous 48 or 72 hours, depending on the type of test taken.

Following its introduction in June, Italy made the Covid health pass a requirement for all employees as well as customers at all public or private sector workplaces from the middle of last month.

In order to extend these rules. Italy’s government would also need to prolong the state of emergency – which allows coronavirus containment measures to be introduced rapidly by government decree.

Italy’s state of emergency was first declared in January 2020 and has been repeatedly extended since.

The current expiry date is December 31st, 2021, meaning all rules – including those on the green pass – would also expire on that date. So far, no possible extension date has been suggested.

READ ALSO: How long will Italy keep the Covid green pass requirement in place?

 Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

“The weekly incidence at national level is increasing rapidly and across the board compared to the previous week, just below the threshold of 50 weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants,” stated Italy’s Health Ministry in its latest Covid weekly monitoring report.

“The estimated transmissibility on symptomatic cases is increasing and around the epidemic threshold,” the report stated.

For cases that result in hospitalisation, transmissibility is said to be increasing and above the epidemic threshold.


The occupancy rates of beds in medical and intensive care areas associated with the virus are also no longer decreasing, but are stable, confirmed the authorities.

Almost all regions across Italy are now classfied as “moderate epidemic risk”, stated health officials.

“This trend needs to be monitored very carefully and, if confirmed, could be a prelude to an epidemic resurgence,” the report warned.

READ ALSO: Which Italian regions have the highest Covid vaccination rates?

A docker wears a "No Green Pass" pin as workers block port operations in the port of Genoa, Liguria, on October 15, 2021 as new coronavirus restrictions for workers come into effect.


The figures are similar to those of September and October last year, when Italy first introduced the its four-tiered system of restrictions and forms of lockdown, with rules depending on the classification each region falls under.

While this system is still in place, all regions are currently in either the lowest-risk ‘white’ or low-risk ‘yellow’ zones. Moving to ‘orange’ or ‘red’ would entail new restriction locally.

However, the increase in cases, which began in October throughout Europe, is mitigated in Italy by the vaccination rate “which is why our epidemiological situation is among the best,” according to Sestili.

OPINION: Italy’s Covid health pass is a necessary step – but what’s next?

Data for vaccinations show that Italy is ahead of the European average, including countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

To continue the vaccination campaign, which now has a new target of covering 90 percent of the eligible population, a possible extension to the green pass is hoped to encourage those who are still unvaccinated to get a shot by making it obligatory to access almost all areas of public life.

Currently, Italy has vaccinated almost 83 percent of the eligible population over 12 years old, according to the latest government data.

This means some 8 million people in Italy who are able to get vaccinated still haven’t elected to.

Meanwhile, Italy is set to offer everyone a third dose of an anti-Covid vaccine from January, health officials said.

Italy is already administering booster shots to patients with fragile immune systems and serious medical conditions, people aged over 60 and health workers.

Member comments

  1. The infections are with the people who have already been vaccinated. Same thing happening in other countries.

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Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

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

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.