Italy’s PM Draghi signs Green Pass decree, discord over mask-wearing

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Italian Premier Mario Draghi on Thursday signed a decree introducing the Covid Green Pass proving coronavirus vaccination, which will be valid across the EU from 1 July, ANSA reported. The pass will permit travel across the EU for those who have been fully vaccinated, and allow access to all health systems.

Italy is also considering lifting the requirement that people wear protective face masks outdoors, as case numbers in the country continue to fall. The requirement was introduced in autumn last year. It remained unclear on Thursday exactly when it would be lifted, dpa noted.

"Being able to take off the mask outside starting from summer is the government's goal, and it's close," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote in a Facebook post. There was speculation in the media that the rule could be lifted in mid-July, while others thought the change could come sooner.

The regional government in South Tyrol, which has often pursued its own course during the pandemic, plans to drop the mask-wearing rule by Monday.

The head of the right-wing Lega, Matteo Salvini, said he had made a strong call for the requirement to soon be dropped nationwide during a meeting with Draghi in Rome. He suggested the "freedom to breathe" could be days away, according to ANSA news agency. Draghi, however, has taken a more cautious approach to easing regulations.

Di Maio, of the populist Five Star Movement, said: "We've been waiting for this moment for months, and now that the numbers show we're overcoming the health crisis, we need to move faster."

Indoors, Italy's mask requirements are to remain unchanged for now, with coverings required in shops, buses, trains and restaurants.

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