Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday that coronavirus vaccinations will be made compulsory for all over 60-year-olds across the nation.
Aiming to stem surging Covid-19 cases in Greece, Mitsotakis said that the decision “tormented me personally.”
He stressed, however, that it is his responsibility to protect the vulnerable members of society. “Lives will be saved by this decision. Vaccination saves lives,” the PM stated.
Fines for those who skip vaccination
Greece’s premier added that fines will be imposed upon all citizens who do not comply with the new directive.
“Those over 60 who have not been vaccinated will have to make an appointment by January 16, otherwise a fine of 100 euros will be imposed. The fine will be issued by the Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and this money will be collected in a special fund that will finance our hospitals,” Mitsotakis said.
He revealed that of the 580,000 people over the age of 60 in Greece who had remained unvaccinated for some time, only 60,000 of them have been vaccinated in recent months.
Mitsotakis again insisted that there will be no lockdown leading to the Christmas and New Year holidays. “Our vaccination policy, at last, seems to be working. Three out of four Greeks over the age of 12 have chosen to be vaccinated,” he noted, adding that “We are doing better, but not as much as we should.”
He also conceded that the new Omicron variant will “sooner or later” appear in Greece.
Οι συμπολίτες μας άνω των 60 ετών που δεν έχουν εμβολιαστεί θα πρέπει να κλείσουν την 1η δόση έως τις 16 Ιανουαρίου. Θα έχουν απόλυτη προτεραιότητα. Διαφορετικά, κάθε μήνα θα επιβάλλεται διοικητικό πρόστιμο €100, το οποίο θα βεβαιώνεται από την ΑΑΔΕ και θα χρηματοδοτεί το ΕΣΥ. pic.twitter.com/BzV5sswZzn
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) November 30, 2021
Main opposition SYRIZA harshly criticized Mitsotakis following the announcement of the new health measures against Covid on Tuesday.
“The perpetrator of the health disaster, in a panic [caused by] the total collapse of the national health system and the pitiful European ‘lead’ in deaths and covid cases, instead of assuming responsibility, once again shunts it onto the citizens.”
SYRIZA accused Mitsotakis of “this time targeting those over 60 and, instead of announcing measures to support the national health system, encourage vaccination and tighten health protection measures, instead announced measures of punishment and economic annihilation, which no other country in the world has implemented.”
Covid cases remain high in Greece
A total of 104 people with the virus passed away in the country on Monday alone.
Just 11 of Monday’s cases were identified during routine Covid-19 testing of tourists at the country’s borders.
Currently, there are 657 patients with the coronavirus on ventilators in Greece.