Italy to suspend Covid green passes after positive test result

People show their Covid health certificates in Rome.
Italy is set to update its Covid green pass rules again this week to 'plug a hole' in the system. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
The Italian government is drafting a new decree with further changes to its 'green pass' system, this time meaning anyone who tests positive for Covid will have their certificate suspended.

After Italy’s Covid green pass rules were tightened under a government decree on December 6th, another update is on the way this week bringing further changes to the nationwide health pass system.

A so-called ‘super’ green pass based on vaccination or recovery is currently required for entry to cultural and leisure venues including indoor bars and restaurants, as well as for access to long-distance public transport.

Q&A: How does Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

Workplaces and essential services can be accessed with a ‘basic’ green pass, which can be issued based on a negative test result.

Under the incoming rule change, anyone who tests positive will have their ‘super green pass’ suspended.

The new decree, expected to be signed into law by Thursday 16th December, is intended to “plug a hole in the certificate verification system,” reports Italian newspaper La Stampa.

La Stampa notes: “To date, [green passes] remain valid even if the holder, in the meantime, tests positive.”

Since the green pass system was first launched in August, Italian media reports have regularly noted that it does not prevent someone who is vaccinated or recovered but later tests positive from entering premises where the health certificate is required.

“It seems obvious, but so far it hasn’t been the case. For this we need a new DPCM (prime minister’s decree), which the government has sent to the GDPD (Italy’s Privacy Guarantor) for approval,” writes La Stampa.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules changed on December 6th

A customer shows her green pass at a bar in central Rome. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The update would require communication between regional Covid test results databases and the health ministry’s system for managing green passes.

Newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore described the update as: “a database or a sort of ‘black list’ of revoked green passes which the C-19 verification app will read as ‘invalid’.” 

“Once the quarantine period is over, the pass will automatically become valid again until it expires.”

It was not clear from initial reports in Italian media exactly how long the planned suspension will last, but it appears likely to be for a ten-day period or until a negative test result is recorded.

READ ALSO: ‘Super green pass’: How is Italy enforcing the new Covid rules?

Current guidance from the health ministry states that asymptomatic cases must undergo “an isolation period of at least 10 days from the onset of positivity, at the end of which a molecular (PCR) test is performed with a negative result.”

For those with symptoms, the isolation period is “10 days, of which at least three days without symptoms” followed by a negative PCR test result. 

Health Minister Roberto Speranza told Parliament on November 10th:  “It remains clear that anyone identified as a positive case is always subject to isolation rules, and the use of the green pass is strictly prohibited if the bearer is a possible cause of contagion.”

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