Italy launches mandatory COVID-19 health pass

Italy launches mandatory COVID-19 health pass
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Italy on Friday launched one of the world's strictest anti-COVID-19 measures — a mandatory COVID-19 health pass or ‘Green pass’ – for its workers. 

The country is the first in Europe to mandate a "health pass" that requires everyone have proof that they have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, have recently recovered from an infection or have had a negative test in the last 48 hours if they want to go to work, according to Reuters.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's Cabinet approved the rule in mid-September, making it mandatory on Oct. 15, according to the news outlet.

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The new rules also penalize those who do not have the pass.

Workers who refuse to comply will be forced to take unpaid leave and risk fines of $1,760, The New York Times reported.

In reaction to the measures taking effect, a handful of protests are taking place across the country.

The New York Times reported that protesting workers in Trieste blocked some access to a busy port on Friday. 

The pass is already required in Italy for both tourists and nationals to enter museums, theaters, gyms and indoor restaurants, as well as to board trains, buses and domestic flights.

Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, has had more than 130,000 COVID-19 deaths.

EuroNews reported that while more than 85 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received one dose of the vaccine, up to 3 million unvaccinated workers are at risk of being denied access to their places of employment.

An internal government document estimates that close to 15 percent of private and 8 percent of public sector workers do not have a Green Pass, Reuters said.

Draghi's government has said the health pass is a measure put in place to ensure no further lockdowns in Italy.