Violent anti-vaccine protests in Rome 0:52
This Friday the obligation for all workers in Italy to show a government-issued covid-19 "green pass" came into force, prompting protests and fears of production disruption.
Anyone on the payroll -in the public or private sector- must have a "green pass" with a QR code to certify that they are fully vaccinated, that they have recently recovered from the infection or that they have tested negative. in the previous 48 hours.
Italy will demand the "green pass" of covid-19 for all workers
Employees who go to work without the pass risk a fine of up to 1,500 euros (US $ 1,730) and a suspension without pay.
Employers could also face fines if they allow staff to work without a "green pass."
Longshoremen and other workers gather to protest in the port of Trieste on October 15, 2021 against the entry into force of the new "green pass" presentation requirements.
This Friday afternoon there will be a protest against the demand for a "green pass" at the Circus Maximus in Rome.
A strike is also underway in the port of Trieste, in the north of the country.
More than 81% vaccinated
Italian government statistics say that 81% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated and more than 85% have received the first dose.
Italy has also started booster vaccines for people with compromised immunity and over 80 years of age.
Since September 1, the certificate is required on long-distance trains and in closed places, such as restaurants, museums and gyms.
"The 'green pass' is a bad thing, it is discrimination according to the law. Nothing more. It is not a sanitary regulation, it is just a political maneuver to create division among the people," said Fabio Bocin, a 59-year-old dock worker in Trieste.
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In Rome, police in riot gear stood in front of a small rally with people shouting "No to the 'green pass'."
Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet approved the rule - one of the strictest COVID-19 measures in the world - in mid-September.
It will be in force until the end of the year.
Refusal of vaccination
About 15% of private sector workers and 8% of the public do not have a "green pass," according to an internal Italian government document seen by Reuters.
The government hoped that the measure to make the health card mandatory would convince unvaccinated Italians to change their mind, but since more than 80% of residents over 12 years of age are already fully vaccinated and infection rates are low, that increase has not materialized.
Italy's right-wing Liga and Hermanos parties and some unions say that, to address the risk of staff shortages, the validity of COVID-19 tests should be extended from 48 to 72 hours, and they should be free for unvaccinated workers. .
But the government has so far resisted those requests.
The center-left Democratic Party, which is part of Draghi's ruling coalition, says making swabs free would amount to an amnesty for tax evaders.