GYPSY: Italy prepared for nationwide protests, blockades and potential disruptions on Friday when tough new coronavirus restrictions for workers came into force. All workers must show a so-called Green passport, which offers evidence of vaccination, recent recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test or face declared absent without pay. More than 86 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one jab and therefore automatically qualify for the certification. But up to three million workers are estimated to be unvaccinated – and most will only be able to work if they pay for their own tests either every 48 or 72 hours, depending on the type. They cover large numbers in the freight industry – and with many angry at the new rules and refusing to follow, there are fears of widespread financial disruption. Ivano Russo, general manager of Confetra, a trade group, told AFP that of a total of 900,000 truck drivers, couriers and warehouse staff employed by members of his lobby, “25-30 percent” did not Covid certificate. Port workers in Trieste, a major hub in the north-east, have threatened to strike indefinitely, despite being offered free Covid tests. The same privilege has been extended to certain ports in Genoa, in the northwest. “The real problem with the Green Pass for the port of Genoa, in general for all ports, will be freight transport,” Roberto Gulli of the Uil union told La Repubblica. “There could be chaos on Friday.” Still, more than 560,000 green passports were downloaded on Wednesday, according to government data, indicating that the advent of the new rules increased vaccinations. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has defended the Green Passport as a way to avoid further shutdowns in Italy, where the economy is expected to note nearly six percent growth this year following a devastating covid-induced recession. Ministers seemed unlikely to call for free Covid testing for all, but the ANSA news agency reported that they were considering major tax breaks for companies paying for them. Anti-pass protests were also expected throughout Italy on Friday, but the government hopes to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s demonstrations in Rome that degenerated into violent clashes inflamed by right-wing extremist militants. Trade unions on Saturday are also planning an anti-fascist meeting.