ATHENS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday that the government has decided to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for health care professionals.
The compulsory vaccination applies to all employees at care facilities for the elderly as of August 16, and those who do not comply will face suspension from work.
Healthcare providers in the public and private sectors face a deadline by Sept. 1 to get their jabs, while all the Armed Forces personnel will also be vaccinated.
As of Friday and until the end of summer, entrance to indoor cinemas, theaters and bars will be allowed strictly to the vaccinated.
"The Operation Freedom, as Greece has dubbed its vaccination program, is unfolding across the territory, bringing us closer to the goal of having at least 70 percent of our adult population vaccinated during the summer" to achieve herd immunity, the prime minister said in a televised address on Greek national broadcaster ERT.
"Two shadows, however, prevent our swift and definitive exit from the test: the emergence of the aggressive coronavirus Delta variant and a percentage of citizens who are still reluctant to be vaccinated," he said.
"It is a double threat that concerns all countries today, forcing some of them to return to strict restrictions. Even the Olympic Games for the first time will be held without spectators," he added.
In recent weeks, Greece has witnessed a surge in daily coronavirus cases. On Monday, the authorities reported 2,065 new infections, 10 deaths and 139 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs).
To date, more than 9.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in Greece. Enditem