Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced updated entry restrictions for unvaccinated adults and other relevant measures, effective as of Monday, November 22, during a live address to the nation on Thursday evening.
Unvaccinated adults, who up until now were barred from indoor cafes and restaurants, will also be blocked at all public indoor venues, including cinemas, theatres, gyms, museums, and stadiums, even if they could present a negative coronavirus test result.
This measure does not include supermarkets and food stores, pharmacies and urban transport, long-distance coaches and trains, churches and shrines, the retail sector, hairdressers and outdoor bars and cafes.
Concerning churches, the unvaccinated public can enter only by presenting a negative rapid or PCR test result provided by a private lab, or a prior infection certificate.
“This is an immediate act of protection and, of course, an indirect push for vaccination,” noted the premier.
Vaccination certificates of people over 60, namely those who have completed their vaccination with both doses or with a single-dose vaccine, will now expire after 7 months since completion, added Mitsotakis. This will allow people an extra month to have a third booster shot, he added; as of December 13, they will not be able to enter indoor spaces if 7 months have elapsed since full vaccination, and they have not been inoculated with a third booster dose, it was clarified.
Rotating shift schedules in the public and private sectors will be extended to avoid overcrowding in public transport and also at work, it was added.
Checks for vaccination certificates and negative test results in the general public will intensify, Mitsotakis stressed.
Finally, the prime minister said that the national health system is being strengthened with the addition of intensive care beds in private clinics, and also with the requisition of private sector doctors. Medical staff are also currently being hired to cover for their unvaccinated colleagues whose contracts have been suspended.
More than 7 million people in Grecee have so far chosen to be inoculated, noted Mitsotakis, namely 3 in 4 adults. However, some 575,000 people over 60 remain unprotected, of whom 1.5 mln completed their vaccination at least 6 months ago, and so they are becoming more vulnerable as their antibodies reduce, which is why a third booster shot is necessary, he pointed out. Nine in ten Covid-19 patients currently treated in ICUs are unvaccinated, noted Mitsotakis.
“Coronavirus succumbs where vaccination prevails,” he stressed. At least 350,000 first dose vaccination appointments were booked over the last few weeks, he added.
Finally, Mitsotakis urged older people to “turn their back on fear” and book a vaccination appointment now, so that “the coronavirus can gradually become just a seasonal flu,” and “people can better enjoy their upcoming Christmas holidays with family and friends.”