Vaccination against Covid is to become mandatory for all citizens aged over 60 years old, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced during an opening statement at the start of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. “With this political decision, I am sure that human lives will be saved,” the prime minister said, adding that by January 16, all unvaccinated citizens over the age of 60 must have made an appointment for a first dose of the vaccine and that they will be given priority when booking vaccinations.

“Otherwise, every month there will be – for each one – an administrative fine of 100 euros that will be issued by the Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and this money will be collected in a special fund that will finance our hospitals,” Mitsotakis added.

“We are doing better, but not as much as we should be and not as much as we want. Out of our 580,000 unvaccinated fellow citizens over 60 years old, unfortunately only 60,000 went to get vaccinated,” he said.

An additional measure was announced ahead of the Christmas period: the provision of a free self-test to every adult from December 6 to December 12 and from January 3 to January in order to identify possible asymptomatic carriers of the virus and to better monitor the progress of the transmission of the pandemic during the holidays.

“The new ‘Omicron’ variant worries us and calls on us to be vigilant because it reminds us that the coronavirus can constantly surprise us as long as it finds ground to survive, especially among the unvaccinated … We will know more about the ‘Omicron’ variant in about two weeks. Sooner or later, however, it is certain that it will make its appearance in Greece as well. That is why we must continue to implement our policy even faster. In other words, we must save time. Vaccinations, many tests, application of the vaccination certificate and personal protection measures. This is the answer and not a lockdown that some people consider certain,” he said.

“And despite the great difficulties we are facing – the Health Minister will present later the situation in the national health system – our policy regarding vaccinations, at least over the last month, seems to be working. Already three in four Greeks over the age of 12 have chosen to be vaccinated. Our country today is second in Europe in terms of people doing the third vaccination dose. In the last few weeks alone, the appointments for the first and third doses in total have exceeded two million,” the prime minister stressed.