After last week’s period of “adaptation” to the new pandemic measures, this week is expected to see the enforcement of fines and penalties for violations in the workplace and in restaurants. Indeed, Kathimerini understands that in addition to the vaccination or illness recovery certificate that will be requested from those who wish to enter restaurants and bars, proof of identity will also be required.
Government officials acknowledge that further tightening of controls will put an added strain on businesses, but insist it is necessary to control the coronavirus and prevent new lockdowns that will cost even more.
Meanwhile, regarding mandatory vaccinations, the government has no plans, for now at least, to expand it to other professional categories beyond health workers. The two categories that have so been discussed are teachers and uniformed officers, but the government remains hesitant.
In education, if those already vaccinated are added to those who have acquired natural immunity due to the disease, the percentage of those who are already shielded against the coronavirus is close to 90%. It would therefore be inappropriate to created social tension for the remaining 10%.
As for uniformed officers, the view is that suspending those who refuse to get vaccinated would be particularly problematic as this could compromise the effectiveness of different agencies.
The coast guard is a case in point, as even a small reduction of the existing personnel would cause great problems in the guarding of the country’s maritime borders, especially when there are fears of new migrant flows due to the developments in Afghanistan.
In any case, the government appears confident that the pressure on the health system exerted by the pandemic will be manageable, while the prospect of a long-lasting general lockdown, such as those imposed in the spring of 2020 and the winter of 2021, is being ruled out all together.
Despite the fact that Greece remains under the threshold for the required wall of immunity, the data show that the targets set at the beginning of the year to vaccinate 65% of the population by the fall have been achieved and the country would have been shielded if the Delta variant had not emerged. The new variant means that a higher number of vaccinations (80-85%) are required for the coveted wall of immunity.