Italy to end Covid ‘super green pass’ requirement from May 1st

The Italian government has approved a 'roadmap' towards the end of Covid restrictions in the country by early summer, Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed on Thursday evening.

Italy to end Covid ‘super green pass’ requirement from May 1st
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi talks about a planned lifting of the country's Covid-19 state of emergency and rules imposed during the pandemic at a press conference in Rome on March 17th. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed on Thursday evening that his cabinet had signed off on the so-called decreto riapertura, or ‘reopening decree’, containing the timeline for easing the nation’s Covid restrictions

Under the decree, Italy’s health measures will be gradually eased between the start of April and mid-June, after the nationwide state of emergency ends on March 31st – two years and two months after it was first announced.

The green pass requirement is expected to end on May 1st, while Italy’s indoor mask mandate will end on April 30th, according to a draft text of the decree circulated on Thursday.

EXPLAINED: Why is Italy’s coronavirus infection rate rising again?

However, while Draghi confirmed at a press conference on Thursday evening that the decree had been approved, he did not go into details about what it contained.

The government approved “important measures that eliminate almost all the restrictions that have limited our behaviour,” Draghi said.

‘The government’s goal is to return to normality, the recovery of sociality, to reopen the economy and limit distance learning,” he continued. “This is now a state we have reached.”

Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Health Minister Roberto Speranza confirmed at the press conference that Italy’s four-coloured ‘zone’ system of restrictions will no longer be used, and said unvaccinated employees aged over 50 would no longer be suspended from work without pay. 

“It will be enough for them to have the basic green pass until April 30th”, he said, referring to the health certificate which can be issued based on proof of a negative test result as well as vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19.

Healthcare workers will remain subject to the vaccine mandate until December 31st, Speranza said.

He also confirmed that, as previously announced, the government is not planning to offer fourth vaccine doses to the entire population.

However, no further details were given about the contents of the new decree at the press conference, and the final text is yet to be published.

According to the draft, the requirement to show a ‘super’ or reinforced green pass in order to access public transport is expected to be lifted as soon as April 1st, when capacity restrictions are also set to be lifted at venues such as sports stadiums and nightclubs.

The government went ahead with the plans to lift the country’s health measures despite a rise in the coronavirus infection rate in Italy over the past two weeks.

However, Italy will relax the rules gradually over the coming months rather than all at once as in other countries such as neighbouring France and Germany.

At the moment, almost all venues and services in Italy, including hotels, restaurants and public transport, require a ‘super green pass’ for access, proving vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19.

The decree is not expected to contain any updates to Italy’s travel rules, which were last updated at the beginning of March.

The Local will continue to publish further details about the new decree as they become available.

Find information about Italy’s Covid-19 rules on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

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Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.