Italian school staff, both teachers and all other staff, must have a COVID-19 pass from the new school year, the government announced. The requirement for such passes, the so-called Green Passes, for university students was also introduced. The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Italy now stands again at over 100,000 after a few months’ break. More than 100 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized every day.
“We are taking steps to ensure that schools can open safely in September, and are introducing a mandatory pass for all school staff,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza at a press conference following the government meeting. In the case of universities, the pass requirement will apply to both employees and students.
The health minister stressed that the new regulations were designed to avoid industry closures and “protect freedom”. The requirement for the Covid pass, Speranza stressed, “is absolutely not a victory for one side, but a (victory) for the country, because it is a fair regulation that will help in this phase of the epidemic.”
Lower test prices, pass requirement
The new regulations provide for the suspension of salaries for employees of educational institutions after five days of absence due to the lack of a COVID-19 pass, issued on the basis of a vaccination certificate, recovery from infection or a negative test result. Such absence from school will be considered as unexcused.
In addition, a decision was made to lower the prices of instant coronavirus tests for children and adolescents performed in pharmacies. They will cost 8 euros for people aged 12-18 and 15 euros for all other Italians. Currently, this price is over 20 euros.
From September 1, the requirement for a COVID-19 pass will apply to long-distance means of transport, i.e. airplanes, ships, Intercity and high-speed trains and buses running between regions. Under the new regulation, a vaccinated person who has had contact with an infected person will have to undergo a 7-day quarantine, and not a 10-day quarantine, as it is now.
The epidemic situation in Italy
On Thursday, the health ministry announced 7,230 new cases of coronavirus. 3.4 percent of the tests were positive. In the last day of COVID-19, 27 people died, and the total death toll increased to 128,163.
Another 108 people were admitted to hospitals, including eight to intensive care units, where a total of about 270 of the most seriously ill are staying. There are almost 2,700 people in regular covid units. More than 100 more patients are hospitalized every day.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Giuseppe Lami