| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Unvaccinated in Greece face new restrictions as COVID cases soar

On the first day of new limitations to control surging coronavirus infections, which require the unvaccinated to have negative COVID-19 testing, queues developed outside stores in Athens on Saturday.

COVID-19 infections in Greece reached a new daily high almost every day in November, prompting authorities to announce new measures on Tuesday, including restricting access to cafés and restaurants, public institutions, and banks to people who have been vaccinated or have a negative test.

Those who have been immunized against COVID-19 must also provide their immunization certificates, resulting in huge lineups outside businesses on Ermou, the capital’s busiest shopping boulevard.

“I don’t like it,” Soula Tsaousi said as she stood in line at a clothing store in central Athens. “We don’t live in a jail; we’re civilized people, and I don’t like that.”

On Friday, Greece reported 6,909 new coronavirus infections, exceeding the previous single-day record of 6,808 set on Thursday. This brings the overall number of illnesses since the pandemic began last year to 774,265 people. There have been around 16,200 deaths.

Some Greeks supported the new guidelines.

“They will be effective as long as they are implemented correctly and by all,” said Giorgos, a customer in a cafe who declined to give his last name. “I think they were late in coming too, they should have implemented these measures a lot sooner.”

As part of the new measures, all unvaccinated workers should also test negative twice a week. Most unvaccinated in Greece are now required to present a negative test once a week to get to their workplace.

About 60.5.% of a population of about 11 million are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest data.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris said Greece will soon send letters and text messages as part of a new campaign to boost vaccination take up.

  • Reuters