Sep 16, 2021 - Health

Italy to mandate COVID health pass for all workers

Italian Minister of Public Administration Renato Brunetta attends the signing of the "Pact for the innovation of public work and social cohesion" at Palazzo Chigi, on March 10, 2021 in Rome, Italy.

Italian minister of public administration Renato Brunetta. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

The Italian government mandated on Thursday that all workers must show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or recent recovery from infection, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Thursday's announcement is one of the strictest pandemic measures in the world and makes Italy the first country in Europe to introduce such a sweeping mandate, per Reuters.

  • The decree was approved at a cabinet meeting and aims to get more people vaccinated. It goes into effect on Oct. 15.
  • Approximately 75% of Italy's population over the age of 12 are vaccinated.
  • In August, Italy required COVID-19 passports for indoor activities and long-distance travel.

The big picture: Any worker who fails to present a valid health certificate will be suspended with no pay, Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters Thursday.

  • Those who ignore the decree and go to work regardless will face a fine of between 600 to 1,500 euros — $705 to $1,175.
  • Italy currently holds Europe's second-highest death toll after the United Kingdom.

Details: Italian officials also pledged to make COVID tests easier to access, CNN reported.

  • However, tests will only be free for individuals who are ineligible for vaccines, making it costlier to go to work for those who opt out.

What they're saying: "Nothing like this has been done in Europe ... we are putting ourselves in the forefront internationally," said public administration minister Renato Brunetta, per Reuters.

  • "This is to make these [work] places safer, and make the vaccination campaign even stronger," Italian health minister Roberto Speranza said, per CNN. He called the decree "a strategy that points on the vaccine as the fundamental key to open a new season."
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