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Italy rolls out Green Pass amid anti-COVID-19 mandate protests

Italy rolls out Green Pass amid anti-COVID-19 mandate protests
People take part in the No Green Pass rally Saturday in Turin, Italy. Photo by Tino Romano/EPA-EFE

Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Italy has rolled out its Green Pass, a government-issued health pass for citizens to work amid the pandemic, prompting protests.

The Green Pass, which came into force Friday, requires vaccination against COVID-19, a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours for the rapid antigen test or 72 hours for the molecular test, or COVID-19 recovery in the past six months to work in all public and private companies.

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The health pass was previously mandatory for restaurants, cinemas and gyms, ANSA reported.

Dozens of anti-pass protesters blocked traffic in Rome, and strikes hit major firms such as Electrolux, San Benedetto and Zoppas. Protesters also rallied at three of Italy's six main ports, according to ANSA, including Ancona, Genoa and Trieste. At Ancona, a worker sit-in blocked the port. At Genoa, dockers halted operations as a major loading point, and lorries to headed for other points. In Trieste, some 2,000 dockers protested, but Friuli Gov. Massimiliano Fedriga said the port was "working regularly."

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The move represents one of the strongest measures Western democracies have taken in an attempt to balance public health needs and civil liberties, according to The New York Times.

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France passed a new law in July requiring similar COVID-19 health passes for people visiting indoor entertainment venues in the country, such as cinemas, museums and theaters, through Nov. 15 amid the Delta variant.

In late August, France extended a similar mandate to face-to-face public workers.

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Last month, President Joe Biden announced a COVID-19 vaccination mandate or weekly negative COVID-19 test for private companies with more than 100 employees, along with a similar mandate for all federal workers, contractors and healthcare workers.

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