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Greece to Fine Older Residents Who Don’t Get Vaccinated


The prime minister of Greece announced on Tuesday that Covid shots would be obligatory for people ages 60 or older, and that those who failed to book a first shot by Jan. 16 would face monthly fines of 100 euros ($113).

About 500,000 people in Greece ages 60 or older have yet to be vaccinated, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a cabinet meeting, adding that the revenue from the fines would go to state hospitals that have been stretched by the pandemic.

Describing the policy as “an act of justice for the vaccinated,” Mr. Mitsotakis said he had worried about penalizing people but hoped they would see the move as an act of “encouragement, not repression.”

“I felt a duty to stand by the most vulnerable, even if it might temporarily displease them,” he said.

Greece is averaging more than 6,400 new cases a day, among its highest numbers since the start of the pandemic, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. With concerns that the winter holidays will lead to further spread, Mr. Mitsotakis said more free testing kits would be made available over the next two months.

More than 60 percent of Greece’s population is fully vaccinated. This month, Greece barred unvaccinated people from cinemas, theaters, museums and gymnasiums, joining a growing number of European nations imposing new restrictions on those who have not had Covid shots.

Here are other developments from around the world.

  • Thirteen cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in England and nine in Scotland, the British and Scottish governments confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of known cases in Britain to 22. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the nine cases there were all linked to a single private event. Sajid Javid, Britain’s health secretary, said officials did not yet know whether all of the cases in England were linked to travel to southern Africa, raising concerns about potential community transmission.

  • Covax, the global vaccine-sharing initiative, announced on Tuesday that it had allocated more than 4.7 million doses to North Korea, which is not believed to have administered any shots yet. The reclusive government has reported no coronavirus cases and has turned down several previous offers of doses, including from Covax, China and Russia. But in June, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said that lapses in his country’s anti-pandemic campaign had caused a “great crisis,” according to state media.

  • Cholendra Shumsher Rana, the chief justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court, tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday evening and has pneumonia, but is in stable condition, said Dr. Prabin Nepal, a spokesman for the Armed Police Force Hospital outside the capital, Kathmandu. Mr. Rana — a central figure in recent political turmoil in Nepal, a Himalayan country hit hard economically by the coronavirus — has been facing growing pressure to resign over corruption accusations, and court watchers in Nepal said there was a good chance he would not return to the bench.

  • With the exception of passengers arriving from the United States, Canada is requiring all air travelers, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to be tested for Covid-19 at the airport and to isolate until results are received. The new measures are a response to the identification of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Canada. The government also directed its vaccine advisory committee to review guidance on booster shots to address the new variant.

  • Brazil detected its first confirmed case from the Omicron variant after a couple who recently traveled from South Africa to Brazil both tested positive, health officials said Tuesday afternoon. A second sample is being tested to confirm the presence of the variant, which would be the first confirmed in Latin America.

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Mark Landler, Jin Yu Young, Bhadra Sharma, Vjosa Isai and Ernesto Londoño.


Apsny News English

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