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A man protests against the vaccine policies in Italy on Friday. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Italy began enforcing one of the world's strictest workplace vaccination policies on Friday, risking protests and worker strikes, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The policy requires all employees — in both public and private sectors — to have a "Green Pass," which shows workers have proof of vaccination, a negative test or have recently recovered from COVID-19, per AP.

  • Workers that choose to get tested will need a new one every 48 hours.
  • Without a green pass, employees can be suspended without pay, per AP.

The big picture: The scale of the resistance has surprised Italian authorities, the Post reports. Last weekend, about 10,000 people demonstrated against the rules in Rome's Piazza del Popolo, including an extremist group that stormed the headquarters of a major union.

  • The policies sparked anti-vaccination protests in some of Italy's major cities on Friday. Police were out in force and schools planned to end classes early to limit violence, per AP.

Between the lines: Employers and union leaders are worried that the new policy will lead to increased absences, complicating schedules and production, per the Post.

What they're saying: “Freedom is something very important in a democracy, [but] the limit of freedom is when you damage other people," said Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology and virology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, according to the Washington Post.

  • "[We] know for sure that vaccinated people are less infectious, and a vaccinated community will be a lot more resistant to infections," Burioni added according to the Washington Post.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dec 2, 2021 - World

Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people

Photo: John MacDougall - Pool/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that people who are unvaccinated will not be allowed in nonessential shops, cultural and recreational venues, AP reports.

State of play: Merkel, alongside incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said the measures were necessary to avoid overflowing hospitals with coronavirus patients. The country is seeing an increase in daily infections.

Updated 22 hours ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.