Yesterday I got an SMS from our regional health authority inviting me to download an app, input the enclosed code, and voila, I’d be able to get my EU Digital Covid Certificate, ready to display at borders and the entrances to discotheques.
Downloading the app from the Android store was simple, as downloading apps ususally is. But when I’d fired it up and selected the Certificate option, I was suprised to find that the numerical code I’d been sent could be one of four types, lets call them ABCD-, WXYZ-, KJIH-, and RSPV-. Unfortunately, the SMS from the heath authority hadn’t specified which type of code they’d sent me.
I turned to my Italian wife for help, as I invariably do when confronted with a head-banging bureaucratic conundrum. “Try them all!” she suggested, so I picked at code type at random and laboriously typed in my numerical code.
Besides the code type and the code itself, I also need to type in the last eight DIGITS of my health card number, and the expiry date of said card. But the long string of numbers and LETTERS on the front of my health card was untypable in the box, in the app, because it was an alphanumerical string, not just numbers, and the app refused to let me type or paste letters.
So I Googled the problem but found nothing useful, presumably because the app and the certificate itself are so new that no one else has figured them out how to use them yet, either.
In desperation I flipped over the blue plastic health card and lo! There was another, very small, very long identifier printed at the bottom left, just where you wouldn’t think to look for it. And this one was numbers only!
So there you go, now all I had to do was pick a code type at random, type in the code I’d received via SMS, which meant flipping repeatedly between the SMS and the app, type in the last eight numbers of the numerical string hidden on the back of the health card (glasses on for that part), along with the card’s expiry date, press ‘submit’, and wait for the inevitable error message: wrong code type!
But having repeated all that several times, I did in the end get my EU Digital Covid Certificate! It comes in the form of a QR code (Wikipedia has a picture and an explanation), which can be easily scanned by door staff and border guards.
If that all sounds very complicated, don’t panic! Apparently, there are other ways to get into Italy besides having your country’s version of the colloquially-named ‘green pass’. The Italian Embassy in Washington DC has a helpful summary, which is worth a look even if you’re not a US citizen or resident.
A negative test from within the last 48 hours will be good enough, apparently, as will an official letter from your doctor or health authority saying you’ve had Covid and recovered from it.
Talking of which, my son went for a test yesterday, as this a.m. he’s flying to Sardinia with his mates for his first ever solo holiday. “I’m negative, Dad,” he informed me. “I’ve always known that, kid,” I told him.
OK, so you’ll need ONE OF your QR code, test result or a letter certifying that you survived the lurgy, to get into Italy (or to Sardinia, if you’re already in Italy). Don’t forget to check out the quarantine requirements, though, will you? They vary from country to country, and can change unexpectedly.
Americans are currently welcome, no self-isolation required. Brits, on the other hand, have to self-isolate for five days, which is a bummer for anyone who’s already booked their flight and accommodation without having anticipated the need to quarantine.
Check the requirements for citizens/residents of the country where you live if you’re coming to Italy this summer. Ditto, if you’re planning to take an Italian course at a language school here, read their cancellation/refund policy and, if necessary, write and ask “What happens if…?”
Given the difficult economic circumstances in the industry, and the risks involved with travel right now, it would be reasonable to expect plenty of flexibility from your chosen school.
We’re telling people, for example, that if they just don’t turn up (it happens, which is why we ask for a deposit) then they’ll lose the €150 they paid at the time of booking. But that, as long as they can let us know a few days, or even a few hours, in advance, there’ll be no problem – the deposit will remain valid for a course booked at a different time, and won’t expire.
No plans to visit Italy this year? I won’t be going anywhere either, EU Digital Covid Certificate notwithstanding. Partly because we’re looking after a baby, who doesn’t have a passport, and also because, as yet, the rest of my family are ony partially-vaccinated, meaning that all plans are on hold.
Oh well, not being able to travel doesn’t mean we can’t continue with our language learning, right?
Despite the heat (it was 37 degrees centigrade here yesterday) I’m still trying to listen to the radio and read newspapers in the languages I’m learning, plus doing online conversation with club teachers.
Just ten days or so left until the start of our Summer Sale, which will be from July 5th to July 11th and means another chance to save 20% on everything in our online shop (ebooks, one-to-one lessons etc.).
There’ll be a coupon code, which I’ll be promoting a week on Monday and each day thereafter (so no need to write and ask me for it now…).
Existing and past one-to-one students will be emailed the coupon code a few days earlier by our Teaching Management team, so helping us ensure that everyone can continue with their favourite teachers, should they so choose. So that’ll be Wednesday or Thursday next week.
If you’re taking lessons with us and want to continue, look out for an email from Lucia then (also, check your Spam/Junk folders!)