Rom. Mario Draghi had already signaled determination at the beginning of the week: “Certain things have to be done, even if they are unpopular,” declared the Italian Prime Minister unequivocally. The unpopular decision was made at the government meeting on Thursday: From October 15, employees and workers must show their national “Green Pass” when they arrive at their workplace.
If they are unable to do this, the department heads and bosses responsible for the controls will immediately send them home again. Anyone who goes to his office or workbench anyway risks a fine of between 400 and 1000 euros. And from the fifth day at the latest without a vaccination certificate, the wage payment is stopped.
The goal of the Italian government is clear: within three or a maximum of four weeks, a vaccination rate should be achieved in Italy that can prevent a dramatic increase in the number of Covid cases even during the approaching colder season.
According to the National Vaccination Commissioner, General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, this “safety zone” will be reached when 44 million of the 54 million Italians who can be vaccinated have received the second dose. Today 39 million people in Italy have been vaccinated twice, which is one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe. The obligation to present the “Green Pass” already applies to medical staff in Italy and, since school started last Monday, also to all teachers.
According to the Ministry of Health, slightly more than four million employees and workers are affected by the expansion of the mandatory vaccination certificate to the entire public and private sector. Both the employers and the trade unions had agreed in principle to the compulsory vaccination certificate in the negotiations with the government – the employers for fear of an impending new lockdown, the employees for reasons of occupational safety.
It should be noted, however, that in Italy the 3-G rule (vaccinated, recovered, tested) still applies to obtaining the “Green Pass”: If you don’t want to be vaccinated, you can go to work with a negative test walk. The most intense discussions during the government’s negotiations with the social partners revolved around the question of who should pay for the tests: the unions demanded free tests (“You shouldn’t have to pay to go to work”). But Draghi called this “inopportune”: Free tests are an incentive not to get vaccinated.
If the new measures are not enough, the government is not ruling out new, even more drastic decisions. In fact, even the introduction of a general compulsory vaccination is not a taboo – although the number of cases in Italy is currently falling and the country has a comparatively low incidence of 54 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.
“We have now decided to extend the ‘Green Pass’ because it is an instrument that works and is accepted by the people,” said Draghi in the negotiations with the trade unions. But: “We must finally return to normal,” emphasized the Prime Minister. For the former ECB boss, the same motto applies to the fight against the pandemic as to the rescue of the euro in summer 2012: “Whatever it takes” – no matter what.