As the year comes to a close and after Greece reported 35,580 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated his call for vaccination while Health Minister Thanos Plevris said making vaccination mandatory for some age groups was on the table.
“The effort continues. With science as an ally, we are fighting the pandemic and misinformation,” said Mitsotakis, promoting via his twitter account a newly launched campaign targeting seniors. He added that seven in 10 Greeks have received at least the first dose of a vaccine against the deadly virus and that more seniors were booking appointments.
7 στους 10 Έλληνες έχουν κάνει τουλάχιστον την α΄ δόση του εμβολίου. Ενώ οι συμπολίτες μας άνω των 60 ετών, έκλεισαν πάνω από 170.000 νέα ραντεβού τον τελευταίο μήνα.
Η προσπάθεια συνεχίζεται. Με σύμμαχο την επιστήμη δίνουμε τη μάχη κατά της πανδημίας και της παραπληροφόρησης! pic.twitter.com/mUiheii6yt
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) December 31, 2021
In the meantime, in view of family gatherings or outings for New Year’s Eve, hundreds of people waited in line to get tested or buy self-tests. Plevris confirmed that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was now dominant in Greece and urged people to adhere to mask and distancing rules and get vaccinated.
According to Plevris, Omicron is infecting younger people who mostly show no symptoms and called for vigilance and prevention. He too referred to the improved vaccination rates, adding that 90 percent of over-60s have either booked or already gotten the booster shot.
As infections figures in Greece rise, Plevris said making vaccination mandatory for those aged 50 or over and the validity duration of vaccination certificates were being examined. Specifically, he said that the vaccination certificates would most likely be valid for seven months after the booster shot and those who don’t get the third dose would be considered unvaccinated. He went on to add that banning the unvaccinated from outdoor venues was also under consideration – a recommendation already made by health experts.
Speaking to SKAI television, Plevris said relevant announcements would be made in the new year.
It is reminded that according to new measures that went into effect on Wednesday and apply through to January 15, music is banned at all restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and on New Year’s Eve, closing time is at 2am.