Greece toughens stance on unvaccinated

All staff of public and private hospitals will have to be vaccinated with the first dose by 1 September. [EPA-EFE/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU]

The Greek government has decided to toughen up its stance against unvaccinated citizens, introducing compulsory vaccination in nursing homes and health facilities as well as allowing only vaccinated people indoors when it comes to bars and restaurants. In case of non-compliance with the new measures, heavy fines will be imposed.

Greece reported on Tuesday 3,109 new COVID-19 cases while the rate of those fully vaccinated has reached almost 40% of the population.

All staff of public and private hospitals will have to be vaccinated with the first dose by 1 September.

“Anyone who refuses to be vaccinated or does not complete the vaccination cycle will be suspended from work without getting a salary,” Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias said.

As of 16 July, bars and restaurants will only accept seated customers and fully vaccinated indoors. Outdoors, it will be up to the owners to decide whether they will only accept vaccinated customers or pick the “mixed” option, meaning non-vaccinated people will also be allowed with the necessary safety measures.

Fines range from €2,000 to €10,000.

A thorny issue is the stance of the Greek Orthodox Church, as in a number of local churches clerks call on people not to be vaccinated.

The Greek Church recommended the free choice of vaccination as the “exclusive and scientifically tested solution to stop the spread of the virus.”

Press reports in Athens suggested that the conservative government’s stance toward ordinary citizens has been tough while in the case of the church – with who conservatives have traditional ties – it has been mild.

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