The Governments of France and Greece Monday decreed mandatory anti-covid-19 vaccination for all health care workers, while a green pass will be required for everyday life.
They will have until September 15 to be vaccinated, otherwise sanctions will be imposed, French President Emmanuel Macron said during a broadcast speech. He also announced that starting next week a health passport will be required to enter restaurants, bars, theatres and cinemas. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave for the virus to spread, he added In France, starting this Tuesday, vaccination will be open for people aged 15 to 17 with the Pfizer vaccine.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki announced that his country would join the measure adopted by France and all people who work in nursing homes will have to be vaccinated before August 16. Otherwise, they will not be able to continue their jobs.
In addition, he indicated for all medical staff, regardless of whether they work in public or private facilities, vaccination will be mandatory as of September 1. In Greece, 4.3 million people received the two doses of the vaccine, out of a population of 10.7 million inhabitants. As of this Friday and until the end of August only vaccinated people will be able to enter bars, cinemas and theatres, and all places of recreation that are closed.
Macron hosted a top-level virus security meeting Monday morning, after which he made the announcements in a televised message during which he explained the Delta variant of Covid-19 was surging in the country.
Macron's new measures are effective in France and in the country's overseas territories.
The President urged all French citizens to get vaccinated. If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to increase, he said. He admitted that the government was striving to achieve a 100 percent vaccination rate across the country.
Vaccination will become mandatory for all health workers. Macron urged them to be inoculated by September 15, after which they could face potential sanctions or fines. Vaccination is a matter of individual responsibility [...] but also a matter of our freedom, the president added.
France's health minister Olivier Véran said that non-vaccinated health workers won't receive a salary nor be allowed to work after September 15. He announced that a vaccination campaign for high school, secondary school and primary school students will begin when school starts again in September.
Among other measures, a curfew will be reinstated in the French territories of Martinique and Reunion Island.
In other measures, PCR tests will no longer be free of charge unless they are obtained with a prescription, to drive up vaccination rates by encouraging people to get the vaccine rather than just repeated Covid-19 tests.
This summer will be a summer of economic recovery, Macron stated, adding that the 'health passport' – a QR code or certificate proving that the holder has a negative covid-19 test, is fully vaccinated or recently recovered from covid-19 – will be required throughout different establishments in France from August, including bars, restaurants, cafés and shopping centers.
Soon after the president's address, France's online health portal Doctolib.fr crashed because of too many people trying to book vaccination appointments.
The rate of vaccination has slowed in the country: France has gone from an average of more than 400,000 injections a day at the end of May to about 165,000 injections per day currently. Around 40 per cent of the population has received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 53.1 per cent has received one dose.
While France and other European countries are tightening restrictions to curb a further rise in cases, the United Kingdom is pressing ahead with plans for 'Freedom Day' on July 19, when most pandemic-related restrictions will be lifted.