The first country in Europe decided to require a COVID passport from all employees

The law, which will penalize unvaccinated workers or those who have no evidence of a recent negative coronavirus test, will take effect on 15 October.

“The government is ready to speed up the ‘green passport’ (…) not only for the public but also for the private sector,” regional affairs minister Mariastella Gelmini said on Wednesday.

A passport is a certificate indicating whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested negative in the last 48 hours or has recently recovered from the virus. Currently, a passport is required for all Italians who want to eat in restaurants, go to the cinema and sports stadiums, ride intercity trains and buses or fly domestic flights, as well as teachers.

In Italy, just over 40 million people have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, equivalent to around 75%. population over 12 years of age. The government hopes to increase that number by another four million.

“Only by vaccinating the majority of the population can we control the transmission of the virus. The vaccine is the only weapon we have against COVID, “Gelmini told Rai radio.

Under the new law, employees who do not present a passport face a fine of 600 to 1,500 euros, Reuters reports.

According to them, an employee may be removed from office due to unjustified absence from work without this passport.

Trade unions have called on the government to provide coronavirus tests free of charge to unvaccinated workers.

“They have to be free, people can’t pay to work,” said Maurizio Landini, head of CGIL, the largest trade union confederation. But Prime Minister Mario Draghi fears free tests will not encourage people to get vaccinated.

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Italy was the first European country to receive a wave of coronavirus cases struck in February, and it experienced a severe recession. More than 130,000 have died since then. people with COVID-19.

Some other European countries require a COVID passport only for workers in certain sectors, and Greece has started mandatory weekly testing of all workers who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus this week.

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