Italy to introduce sweeping new Green Pass obligations for all workers on 15 October.
Italy's Green Pass - the digital or paper certificate that shows people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19 - could be reassessed next year "if the data is good", said deputy health minister Andrea Costa.
"It is reasonable to think that with the new year there may be a revision of the restrictive measures currently in place in our country, including the Green Pass which may be revised and reduced in its application", Costa said on the RAI television programme Parliamone on Monday night.
Costa described the Green Pass as a means to "guarantee the freedom of citizens and to guarantee a gradual return to normality without having to take a step back."
He said that in his view the existing restrictive measures could be scaled back after Italy's state of emergency legislation ends on 31 December, "if the data continues to be positive, if the number of hospitalisations continues to fall, if the number of vaccinated continues to rise."
Costa told news agency ANSA that while Italy is now facing "a full application" of the Green Pass, this could be revised to a "partial application" next year, "keeping the current Green Pass for some circumstances and not for others."
The health undersecretary stressed however that the re-evaluation could not take place until December, "in parallel with the expiry of the state of emergency which we hope will end".
Costa's remarks come as Italy prepares to introduce sweeping measures obliging all workers - in both the public and private sectors - to have the Green Pass or risk being suspended without pay.
The new rules will come into force on Friday 15 October and will affect around 23 million workers.
The contentious move comes amid a slowing down of Italy's covid vaccination programme and a resurgent protest movement against the Green Pass.
Health minister Roberto Speranza, speaking on RAI3 television programme Che tempo che fa on Sunday, said: "We have to leave the Green Pass as it is for now and then we can evaluate and eventually change."
Describing the measures coming into effect on Friday as "an important step", Speranza said: "The feeling is that the majority of people have grasped that the Green Pass is an instrument of freedom."
Speranza also condemned the violent 'No Green Pass' protest in Rome last weekend, including the storming of the CGIL trade union base and the casualty ward of the Umberto I hospital, saying: "We must be very tough against those who committed these crimes."
There are currently 43.2 million people in Italy fully vaccinated against covid, with around 8 million who have yet to receive even the first dose.
The scope of the Green Pass continues to be extended in a bid to boost Italy's vaccination campaign as the nation recently hit its target of fully vaccinating 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 against covid-19.
What is Italy's Green Pass?
Italy's Green Pass, or certificazione verde, was first introduced in June and was used originally for travel within the EU and to facilitate access to large events such as weddings or to visit nursing homes.
However since the summer the scope of the Green Pass - which does not apply to children under 12 - has been expanded progressively.
The pass is currently required for indoor dining in restaurants, long-distance domestic travel, a host of cultural, leisure and social activities - such as museums, swimming pools and nightclubs - as well as in certain workplace environments including schools and universities.
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.
Photo credit: Elena.Katkova / Shutterstock.com.