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Greek PM announces obligatory vaccination of staff in health care sector

Greek PM announces obligatory vaccination of staff in health care sectorThe government’s goal is to vaccinate at least 70% of the adult population of Greece

The obligatory vaccination of staff in public and private hospitals, and an entry ban for unvaccinated people in indoor spaces were two key measures announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at an extraordinary live briefing on Monday evening, ANA reports.

In a pitch to those aged over 60 and young people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus pandemic, Mitsotakis outlined the measures aimed at preventing any further lockdowns in Greece, especially with the rise of the Delta variant. 

The four measures he announced are as follows:

– All staff at care facilities for the elderly are obliged to be fully vaccinated. Anyone who does not comply will be placed on work suspension as of August 16.

– All medical and other staff in the public and private health sector are obliged to be vaccinated as of September 1. “I am sure a majority of society agrees with this, and I call on all parties to support this fully and without hesitation,” Mitsotakis said.

– All Armed Forces personnel, whether permanent or those fulfilling their military duty, will be vaccinated on the premises where they serve. The PM added that there will also be incentives to getting vaccinated, “as crowding is unavoidable” in the military.

– Indoor venues including entertainment venues, theaters, cinemas, and bars, will only allow entry to vaccinated people. The measure goes into effect on Friday through the end of August. A digital application that will be set up will provide immediate confirmation of their vaccination, Mitsotakis said, pointing out that this is a practice implemented by Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Luxembourg.

Furthermore, during the summer, he said, entertainment venues will not be able to accommodate any standing people and will be strictly checked for this measure. Cafes and restaurants (which are currently only allowed outdoor seating) will be able to add more tables outdoors, he said.

The government’s goal is to vaccinate at least 70% of the adult population of Greece, Mitsotakis said but referred to two obstacles to this: the aggressive Delta variant, and the percentage of the population that hesitates to become vaccinated. “It’s a double threat that all countries have to deal with, while some of them are actually forced to return to tough restrictions,” he said, asserting however that “Greece will not shut down because of some people’s attitude.”

Nearly all (99%) people admitted to ICUs were not vaccinated, he stressed, adding the encouraging signs that 3 in 4 Greeks over 60, 2 in 3 of those over 45, and 1 in 2 of those over 30 years of age have been vaccinated, and the rate is accelerating. 

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