Italy to make 'Green Pass' mandatory for workers

Italy is set to become the first European country to make a COVID-19 "Green Pass" mandatory for all workers.

It is a digital or paper certificate showing someone has received at least one vaccine dose, tested negative or recently recovered from the disease.

Officials told Reuters that the decree was expected to come into force on October 15 for both public and private sector workers.

Any worker who fails to present a valid pass will be suspended on no pay, but cannot be sacked.

People who ignore the decree and go to work without possessing the health certificate will face a fine of up to 1,000 euros or $1,175 USD.

"The green pass is an important tool to deal with this serious situation. In such a serious situation we need effective solutions."

"In my opinion it is not fair, because if I am a free citizen, I can decide whether or not to get a green pass. When there is an obligation, we no longer live in a democracy, but in a dictatorship. So I do not agree."

There have been sporadic protests in recent weeks against the growing pressure to get a jab.

But most political parties in the country have backed mandatory COVID passes, hoping it will prevent further economic lockdowns.

While the employers' federation also welcomed the move, unions have been lukewarm and are demanding that tests should be given freely to those who refuse to be vaccinated.

Officials have pushed back on this, saying it would encourage people to keep on shunning vaccines.

Around 74% of Italy's population have had at least one COVID-19 shot and 68% are fully vaccinated.

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