Italy covid Super Green Pass rules will not apply to Ukrainian refugees

Italy to offer covid vaccines to refugees fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian refugees arriving in Italy will not be subject to the Super Green Pass covid restrictions, the Italian deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri said on Thursday.

"The refugee status allows access to our healthcare", Sileri told Rai Radio 1, pledging that the health ministry will publish a circular on the matter imminently.

Sileri said that "all the procedures" will be carried out, including covid testing for those who arrive and the offer of vaccination, reports news agency ANSA.

He specified that refugee status "does not require the Super Green Pass" but that refugees will be subject to a covid test before getting on trains or buses.

"What the people coming to us now need is a hug", Sileri said.

In Italy a Super Green Pass is required for a host of activities, including public transport, meaning that those who are unvaccinated are not permitted to get on trains, buses, trams or subways.

The most contentious aspect of Italy's Super Green Pass is the suspension, without pay, of unvaccinated workers aged 50 or over.

Predictably, Sileri's comments have provoked a strong backlash from No Vax and No Green Pass circles in Italy.

The Gimbe Foundation, a public health think tank, on Thursday voiced its concern over the 63.8 per cent of Ukrainians who are unvaccinated, calling for the government to include vaccination as part of its plans to welcome refugees.

Gimbe president Nino Cartabellotta said the figure "should not be underestimated, given the dramatic situation that will bring thousands of refugees to our country in the coming weeks."

Under emergency plans approved by the European Union on Thursday, Ukrainian refugees are to be given the right to live and work in the EU for up to three years without a visa.