Critics say move is forced vaccination by the back door.
Italy is set to require all workers in both the public and private sectors to have the covid Green Pass certificate, from mid-October, with a new decree expected to be passed this evening following a cabinet meeting with premier Mario Draghi in the morning.
What is Italy's Green Pass?
The Green Pass, or certificazione verde, is a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.
The pass is required for indoor dining in restaurants, long-distance domestic travel, a host of cultural and leisure activities, and certain workplace environments including schools and universities.
News of the impending decree comes as several government ministers have backed the move publicly, saying that vaccination is the only weapon Italy has against covid and that there should be no discrimination between public and private workers.
However the path towards achieving consensus on the issue among Draghi's wide coalition has met resistance from Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing Lega, whose party is however divided internally on plans to extend the pass.
Confindustria, the main association representing Italy's manufacturing and service companies, has given its approval to making the Green Pass compulsory in the workplace but said the cost of covid testing must be borne by the state, not workers or businesses.
This view was also expressed by leaders of Italy's main trade unions who say that tests should be free for employees who do not wish to be vaccinated, and the move should not result in the firing of any workers.
Those who fail to get a Green Pass could face being fined between €400 to €1,000, or suspended and losing their pay, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Moves to extend the scope of the Green Pass are part of efforts to "strengthen the vaccination campaign", health minister Roberto Speranza said week, as Italy nears its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September.
If the government is successful in passing the new decree, Italy will become the first European country to make the health pass obligatory for all public and private sector workers.
Details about the Green Pass can be found - in Italian - on the Certificazione Verde website while for official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website.
Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.
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