ATHENS – The resistant COVID-19 pandemic in Greece saw a grim record toll of 130 deaths for one day but the New Democracy government has no plans for either a lockdown or make vaccinations mandatory.
The number was a surprise to health officials who thought a fourth wave of the Coronavirus would have begun to ease but it’s still being spread by anti-vaxxers refusing to be inoculated and not being required to.
While cases had begun to decline, hospitalizations rose and public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are being overwhelmed while there’s been no attempt to recruit private clinics reserved for the affluent.
There were 700 people in ICUs and another 325 admitted to hospitals on Dec. 14, the same day the deaths peaked, and another 5,736 cases as the government continued to only appeal to people to be vaccinated.
That now includes children 5-11 and those over 60 who don’t make appointments by Jan. 16, 2022 for their first of three shots will be fined 100 euros ($146.53) monthly, taken from benefits for pensioners.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had said he would consider mandatory shots for all – only health care workers are required so far – but has changed his mind without indicating why.
The unvaccinated have been allegedly subject to restrictions on going into public gathering areas such as restaurants without any report how, or if, that’s being enforced other than by the businesses themselves.
Anti-vaxxers are also allowed to go into supermarkets, which can be major spreading areas, and have access to pharmacies while the Greek Church said it can’t, and won’t enforce requirements to check attendees for vaccinations or proof of negative tests.
With winter setting in, and the Omicron Variant appearing, there are also concerns that it could get worse but the government has turned its attention toward the economy while trying to rein in the pandemic.