Italy plans to end the coronavirus state of emergency on March 31 and abolish most restrictions, the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.
From April onwards, a 'green pass' or 'Covid passport,' which residents can use to prove that they have tested negative for, been vaccinated against or recovered from the coronavirus, will no longer be required in hotels, on public transport and in shops.
Access restrictions for visitors to public events will also be abolished: Cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, exhibitions and museums will be allowed to admit as many people as before the coronavirus crisis.
The obligation to prove vaccination or recovery in public indoor areas, such as restaurants, sports halls, cultural institutions or dance clubs will remain until May 1, when the green pass will be abolished completely.
Proof is already no longer required in outdoor areas.
The green pass will be required until May 1 to travel on planes and long-distance trains.
Quarantine regulations lifted
Quarantine regulations will be almost completely lifted: In future, only infected people will have to isolate; close contacts - whether vaccinated or not - will be allowed to leave their homes at any time. In schools, too, only infected children will have to stay at home.
As in other countries, the number of new coronavirus infections is rising in Italy: on Thursday, authorities registered almost 80,000 new infections and 128 deaths. More than 91% of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one vaccine jab.
The end of the state of emergency also marks the dissolution of a government panel of experts that had been working on key measures during the months of the pandemic.
The highly praised special commissioner responsible for the vaccination campaign, Francesco Figliuolo, is given a new task: In future, he is to take over the coordination of the aid measures for Ukraine.