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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."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.