Following Israel across the Mediterranean being the first country in the world to implement an internal Covid passport allowing only vaccinated citizens to engage in all public activity, Italy on Friday implemented its own 'Green Pass' in the strictest and first such move for Europe.
The fully mandatory for every Italian citizen health pass "allows" entry into work spaces or activities like going to restaurants and bars, based on one of the following three conditions that must be met:
proof of at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine
or proof of recent recovery from an infection
or a negative test within the past 48 hours
It's already being recognized in multiple media reports as among "the world's strictest anti-COVID measures" for workers. First approved by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet a month ago, it has now become mandatory on Oct.15.
Protests have been quick to pop up across various parts of the country, particularly as workers who don't comply can be fined 1,500 euros ($1,760); and alternately workers can be forced to take unpaid leave for refusing the jab. CNN notes that it triggered "protests at key ports and fears of disruption" on Friday, detailing further:
The largest demonstrations were at the major northeastern port of Trieste, where labor groups had threatened to block operations and around 6,000 protesters, some chanting and carrying flares, gathered outside the gates.
Around 40% of Trieste's port workers are not vaccinated, said Stefano Puzzer, a local trade union official, a far higher proportion than in the general Italian population.
HAPPENING: Huge crowd of dock workers and others block the entrance to the Port of Trieste, Italy to protest against the compulsory vaccine passport, which goes into effect today. Other large protests are currently underway across the country.pic.twitter.com/8GTamwIUCN— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) October 15, 2021
Workers at the large port of Trieste have effectively blocked access to the key transport hub...
As The Hill notes, anyone wishing to travel to Italy anytime soon will have to obtain the green pass: "The pass is already required in Italy for both tourists and nationals to enter museums, theatres, gyms and indoor restaurants, as well as to board trains, buses and domestic flights."
The prime minister had earlier promoted the pass as a way to ensure no more lockdowns in already hard hit Italy, which has had an estimated 130,000 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the requirement of what's essentially a domestic Covid passport is practically catching on in other parts of Europe as well, with it already being required to enter certain hospitality settings in German and Greece, for example. Some towns in Germany have reportedly begun requiring vaccination proof just to enter stores. So likely the Italy model will soon be enacted in Western Europe as well.