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Italian senator suspended without pay for refusing to show COVID-19 health pass

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By Euronews  with AFP, ANSA
FILE
FILE   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool

An Italian politician has been suspended without pay for entering the country's Senate without a COVID-19 health pass.

Laura Granato -- a senator from the small group L'alternativa c'è ("There is an alternative") -- will have her salary withheld throughout her 10-day suspension.

She had refused to show her digital health pass on Tuesday while attending a meeting about the pass itself.

A bailiff at the Palazzo Madama had allowed Granato to enter on Tuesday afternoon for the Constitutional Affairs Committee meeting.

But the incident was reported to the Senate's presidency, which decided to sanction her.

Granato will not be allowed to enter the Italian parliament building or take part in its work, Senate President, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati announced.

Since Friday, employees at all Italian workplaces require the health pass to prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently recovered or tested negative for the virus.

Employees who refuse to comply with the new regulation risk a suspension of their salary and an additional fine.

Granato -- whose party was formed by dissident members of the 5 Star Movement (M5S) -- has opposed the new measures, despite warnings from officials.

"The health pass is a certificate of obedience," she told reporters outside the Senate after her suspension was announced.

Although more than 85% of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, it is estimated that about three million workers are not vaccinated.

The decision to make COVID-19 health passes mandatory has also prompted numerous protests across Italy.