Healthcare workers who remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 will be put on unpaid leave in Greece, according to a measure brought forth by the Greek Health Ministry to Parliament on Wednesday.
Any healthcare workers — including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and administrative support staff in private or public hospitals, clinics, and care facilities — who refuse to be vaccinated will lose their social security during their unpaid leave if Parliament approves the motion.
The suspension without pay will last until the person receives the vaccine or “as long as the pandemic lasts,” according to a statement from the Ministry.
The legislation will take effect as of August 16 for workers in nursing homes and beginning on September 1 for healthcare staff.
In order to cover any loss of staff, the Greek Health Ministry has proposed hiring healthcare workers on three-month contracts.
Less than 10% of doctors in Greece unvaccinated against Covid-19
In total, 90% of Greek doctors and 73% of nurses in the country have now been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Approximately 52 percent of the Greek population is now vaccinated with at least one dose, and 44 percent have had both their doses or were vaccinated with a a single dose vaccine.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the vaccine would be mandatory for healthcare workers, along with those who work in care facilities for the elderly and those with special needs, in mid-July.
The measure has been met with considerable controversy, as some say that it is for the greater good, and others argue it limits their freedom.
Last week, thousands of people protested against mandatory vaccinations and other measures imposed by the Greek government to tackle the pandemic in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities around Greece.
Alongside the approximately 4,000 that turned out in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, police said several hundred people also took to the streets in the cities of Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Heraklion for the same reason.
Greece records 2,972 cases of Covid-19, three deaths
The number of the daily cases of the coronavirus in Greece remained elevated on Wednesday, as 2,972 total cases were recorded across the country.
The current figure marks 593 fewer instances of the virus than the 3,565 cases that had been recorded on Tuesday.
A total of 19 of Wednesday’s cases were identified during routine Covid-19 testing of tourists at the country’s borders.
Currently, there are 125 patients with the coronavirus on ventilators in Greece, which is four more than the number of patients undergoing the invasive treatment in the country yesterday, Tuesday.
Tragically, three people suffering from the coronavirus passed away in the country over the past 24-hour period, which is six fewer than those who died with the virus on Tuesday.
1,266 coronavirus cases in Attica, 255 in Crete
Of the 2,972 new coronavirus cases recorded in Greece in the past 24 hours, a stunning 1,266 were located in Attica, home to the Greek capital city of Athens.
In the city of Athens, a total of 330 cases of Covid-19 were identified Wednesday.
A total of 255 coronavirus cases were found in Crete, where the Delta variant has taken hold. Officials and specialists speculate that the fast-spreading Delta variant is behind the sudden surge in cases on the Greek island.
In Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece, 254 cases of the virus were identified on Tuesday.
Over 400,000 cases of Covid-19 recorded in Greece
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 466,441 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country, including all those who have recovered from the virus.
Of the cases diagnosed in Greece in the past seven days, just 131 are associated with foreign travel and 1,275 have been linked to contact with a known case.
Of the 125 patients intubated currently, 89.6% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their average age is 66.
Additionally, a total of 2,770 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The three new deaths recorded on Wednesday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 12,870; 95.1% of those who have passed away with Covid-19 were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.