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Greece to make Covid jabs compulsory for over 60s from mid-January

Those who don’t comply will face a monthly fine of €100.

A member of an Orthodox monastic community in Greece receiving a Covid-19 vaccine this month.
A member of an Orthodox monastic community in Greece receiving a Covid-19 vaccine this month.
Image: REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis via Alamy

GREECE’S PRIME MINISTER Kyriakos Mitsotakis today said coronavirus vaccines would be compulsory for over 60s, as he faces mounting calls for more restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“Greeks over the age of 60… must book their appointment for a first jab by January 16,” the premier said in a statement to the cabinet.

“Their vaccination is henceforth compulsory,” he added.

The measure is still to be put to a parliamentary vote, he said, but lawmakers are widely expected to approve it.

More than 500,000 Greeks aged over 60 were still refusing to be vaccinated, Mitsotakis said.

Those still refusing to do so will face a monthly fine of €100, he added.

“This is protection, not punishment,” Mitsotakis said.

Vaccinations, tests and social distancing “are the answer, not a lockdown”.

The government has resisted calls from health experts for additional safeguards and mobility restrictions, even among the vaccinated, ahead of the Christmas holiday season.

The virus has claimed over 18,000 lives in Greece, with the death rate sharply increasing in November.

More than 650 people are in intensive care nationwide. 

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Omicron

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was already in the Netherlands when South Africa alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) about it last week, Dutch health authorities said today.

The announcement adds to fear and confusion over the new version of the coronavirus in a world hoping it had left the worst of the pandemic behind.

The RIVM health institute said it found Omicron in samples dating from 19 and 23 November.

Those findings pre-date the positive cases found among passengers who came from South Africa last Friday and were tested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The WHO said South Africa first reported the Omicron variant to the UN agency on 24 November.

© – AFP, 2021 with reporting from Press Association

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