Greece tightens restrictions for unvaccinated amid new COVID-19 wave

Europe Materials 19 November 2021 05:34 (UTC +04:00)

Greece will further toughen restrictions for the unvaccinated, banning their entry to more indoor spaces from Monday, as part of efforts to combat the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

As pressure mounts on the healthcare system with a hike in the numbers of daily infections, hospital admissions, and intubated patients lately, Mitsotakis made a televised address to present the "road map" to the Christmas holiday season, reiterating a plea to citizens to get vaccinated shot as soon as possible.

Greece reported 7,317 new COVID-19 infections and 63 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the respective national tallies to 861,117 and 17,075.

To date, over 7 million people in Greece (3 in 4 adults) are vaccinated. Some 1.5 million have completed their vaccination more than 6 months ago and need a booster shot, while 575,000 citizens over 60 are unvaccinated, the Greek leader noted.

He added that 90 percent of patients in intensive care units are not vaccinated, urging people to get vaccinated.

The government has opted against a new lockdown but for persuasion instead of bans and expansion of mandatory vaccinations, said the prime minister, adding that supplementary measures have to be introduced until enough people book appointments to strengthen the immunization wall.

As of Nov. 22, unvaccinated citizens will not be allowed entry to theaters, cinemas, museums, gyms or any other recreational indoor halls, he announced. Currently, they could enter with negative rapid or PCR tests.

The unvaccinated have already been banned from entry to restaurants and cafeterias -- indoors and outdoors.

Moreover, vaccination certificates for citizens over 60 will be considered expired seven months after their date of issue, Mitsotakis said. Their certificates will be extended only if they receive a third dose. Otherwise, they will cease to be considered fully vaccinated and treated as unvaccinated.