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COVID-19 RULES

Italy considers making Covid vaccine mandatory for the over 60s

The Italian government has begun a meeting to discuss making vaccines compulsory for the over 60s among a raft of other new health measures, as Covid cases continue to surge and hospitalisations increase.

An elderly lady in Italy receives the Covid vaccine.
Italy is discussing making vaccination mandatory for the over 60s. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Talks have started on the latest change to the nationwide Covid-19 health measures in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, as Italy reported a record high of 170,000 cases on Tuesday.

This will be the third Covid decree after the government already brought in two previous ones in as many weeks.

Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

Included in the draft decree is the proposal to make vaccines compulsory for the most fragile members of society at greatest risk of falling seriously ill from Covid – those over 60 years old.

The move is hoped to reach the some 1.5 million people in this category who have yet to receive a single dose, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

The far-right League party is in favour of a vaccine mandate for this age group. Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said this would be “precisely to protect the most fragile segments of the population”, reports news agency Ansa.

But Italy’s centrist Five Star Movement party is reportedly opposed to the idea. Its current leader and former prime minister, Giuseppe Conte said, “It seems paradoxical to reason about compulsory vaccination when even those who make themselves available for the third dose find it difficult to do so quickly.”

Other ideas on the table are extending the ‘super green pass’ to all workplaces, effectively meaning all workers will need to get vaccinated.

Only healthcare staff, police, teachers and emergency services workers are currently subject to mandatory vaccinations. While this is a possibility for all staff, it’s expected the government will approve expanding the super health certificate requirement.

The ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass health certificate, which proves vaccination or recovery, has already been made compulsory for access to almost all leisure, social or sporting activities in the country, but workplaces so far are not subject to the rule.

Also to be decided are the new rules on quarantine and distance learning for schools ahead of their return to class after the festive break.

Member comments

  1. The continued vulnerability may not be with the over 60’s (although I see the reasoning), but with the lack of vaccinations available to non-registrants of the Italian healthcare system. The lack of vaccination availability might span entire age groups of that group of people.

    Consider, for example, the individual who has been fully vaccinated with two, or even three, shots prior to entering Italy. They might be here for 90 days or for a year, perhaps even longer. They cannot obtain a vaccination without a healthcare system number. At present, many have to return to their home country to get additional shots.

    The less travel and travel contacts made to achieve full vaccination and protection for all countries is to open the shots to everyone – citizen, ex-patriot, visitor and the like. Charging for those shots would be acceptable, I’m sure, to those seeking vaccinations.

    The benefit isn’t just for the individuals, but the whole community.

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COVID-19 RULES

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

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