ROME, Italy — The Italian government on Thursday approved a new decree that makes a green pass mandatory for school and university staff, university students, and passengers on long-haul means of transportation such as airplanes, ships and ferries, and trains.
The green pass is a certificate issued by health authorities that shows people have been vaccinated or have tested negative or have recovered from COVID-19.
“In this epidemiological phase the government has chosen to invest as much as possible in the green pass as a tool to avoid shutdowns and therefore to safeguard our liberties,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said at a press conference following a cabinet meeting.
The minister pointed to the success of the vaccination campaign, with “over 70 million doses administered, over 62 percent of the population having completed the vaccination cycle and 68 percent having received at least one dose.”
Also present at the press conference were Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi and Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility Minister Enrico Giovannini.
School staff who refuse vaccination will be suspended without pay, and students who do so will be considered to be engaging in unjustified absences, the education minister said in answer to a question from a journalist.
First introduced in June, the green pass is necessary in order to attend public events, access nursing homes and move around the country and within the European Union, the government announced on June 17.
Also on Thursday, the health ministry reported 7,230 new infections, 3,371 recoveries, and 27 deaths from COVID-19.