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Greece: Stricter measures on the unvaccinated

Greece took stricter measures towards the unvaccinated, on Tuesday 24 August, by unveiling a raft of new public health safety measures that go into effect on September 13.

According to the new rules:

  • Unvaccinated workers in private and public sector offices and businesses will have to undergo regular testing, at their own expense, once a week. 
  • At schools and universities, but also in other sectors where they come into contact with large numbers of people – such as tourism, catering, television, and theater – they will have to take two rapid tests a week.
  • University students that have not had the shot will also have to take two rapid tests a week – paying for them out of pocket – while school pupils will also have to be tested twice a week, though using self-testing kits that will be provided free of charge. The cost of rapid tests will be set at 10 euros.
  • The results of all tests must be posted on the relevant government website, with proof of a negative result being printed out and produced for admission. In the event of a positive result, the individual will be given instructions for further testing and self-isolation.
  • Admission to cafes, restaurants, clubs, and sports venues will not be allowed without proof of Covid-19 vaccination or recovery,
  • Patrons at cinemas, theaters, museums, and gyms without an immunity certificate will have to display a negative PCR test taken up to 48 hours earlier to gain admission.
  • For travel with the airplane, ferry, or intercity buses: mandatory Rapid test for all over 17 years old, and self-test for those below 17.

The measures will remain in force until 31 March 2022.

“These measures are not punitive [against the unvaccinated]”, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said. “They are our duty to all those who went through 18 months of the pandemic carefully,
those who lost their shops, jobs, had to work from home to protect themselves,

“Unlike in autumn last year, when humanity was confronted with Covid-19 without other defenses apart from the known protection measures, this autumn each of us can protect ourselves and protect others. Vaccines have been available for eight months, giving us a choice that we did not have before,” he added.

Hospitals to stop treating Covid-19 patients as a priority

Kikilias said that hospitals will no longer treat Covid-19 as a priority but serve patients with every kind of ailment and he underlined that vaccinations must continue
in order to reach the 80% vaccination rate, which meant that another one million citizens needed to be vaccinated.

He added the measure for the suspension of unvaccinated healthcare workers will go ahead in September as planned and that mandatory vaccination concerns both the private and public healthcare sector,
including private doctors and pharmacists.

Greece has one of the largest shares of unvaccinated people in Europe, according to the table below. As of August 22, 54% of all adult Greeks were fully vaccinated, compared to an EU average of 56%.
Portugal, Spain, and Denmark have the highest share of vaccinated against Covid-19.