Italy requires all workers to present COVID-19 health passes

Italy is requiring all its public and private section workers to present COVID-19 health passes in order to keep working and getting paid. 

The government voted Thursday to require by Oct. 15 that all workers have health passes that are only given if a person is fully vaccinated, has natural immunity from a recent infection or has a negative COVID-19 test from the previous 72 hours, Reuters reported. 

Those who do not have a health pass can not be fired from their job, but they will be suspended without pay, the ministers said.

Both employers and employees will be fined if a person goes to work without a valid health pass. 

The health pass requirement for all workers is one of the strictest in the world, with Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta saying Italy is "putting ourselves in the forefront internationally," according to Reuters.

Brunetta hopes that just the announcement of the requirement will speed up vaccinations.

Italy already has 64 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Throughout the pandemic, Italy has reported more than 4.6 million cases and more than 130,000 deaths.

Other countries have begun requiring the coronavirus vaccine for some job industries such as health care workers or teachers, but none has implemented a health pass for private and public section workers of all industries. 

A week ago, President Biden announced a sweeping requirement for all businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing.

Although the move was backed by the government, Italy has seen more protests in the past few weeks against the pressure to get the vaccine, Reuters noted.