Green Pass: Italy pharmacies open on days off to cope with demand for covid tests

Italy's Green Pass rules see surge in demand for covid tests.

Pharmacies in Italy are to stay open after hours and on their days off to facilitate the surge in demand for covid-19 tests as a result of the government's Green Pass mandate for workers.

Under the new rules, which come into force last week, all workers in Italy must have a Green Pass, a digital or paper certificate proving the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

Unvaccinated employees can enter the workplace provided they undergo a covid test every 48 hours at a fixed cost of €15.

Italy's emergency coronavirus commissioner Francesco Figliuolo asked regional authorities to help pharmacies deal with the situation, following a request from the federation of the order of Italian pharmacists (FOFI).

The move, which is on a voluntary basis, will make the "service even more effective and efficient", according to FOFI.

Participating pharmacists are asked to notify the local health authorities and municipal administrations, said Roberto Tobia, national secretary of the Italian pharmacy owners federation Federfarma.

"It is still too early for an evaluation of how many pharmacists will respond positively", Tobia told SkyTg24 on Thursday, noting that in the northern Piemonte region some pharmacies have already decided to stay open on weekends, with 24-hour pharmacies present in all regions.

Tobia also explained that despite reports of lengthy queues for covid tests outside pharmacies in various cities around Italy, there is a regular supply of test kits and the situation is under control.

Details about the Green Pass can be found - in Italian - on the Certificazione Verde website while for official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website. 

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