Mandatory vaccine, Covid passport spearhead EU fight against pandemic

Paris/Athens/Lisbon, Jul 13 (EFE).- European Union member states are focusing their efforts on incentivizing Covid-19 vaccination among vulnerable communities and expanding the use of the so-called Covid certificate in activities beyond traveling abroad.

A record one million people in France applied for vaccination Monday night after President Emmanuel Macron announced that jabs would be mandatory for healthcare workers and a requirement for many activities later this month.

“This means thousands of lives saved,” French health minister Olivier Véran said in an interview with BFMTV.

He defended the decision to make the vaccination certificate a requirement to attend cultural events such as cinemas and theaters starting 21 July, and many daily activities such as entering shopping malls, bars or restaurants in August.

After the deadline set by Macron for healthcare personnel and nursing home employees among others to be vaccinated by September 15, they could be suspended or even fired if they refuse inoculation, according to Veran.

A similar measure was announced by Greece, where healthcare workers who refuse the mandatory vaccination or employees of hospitality and leisure venues serving unvaccinated customers indoors will face a 1,000 euros fine.

Nursing-home workers and healthcare personnel both in public and private centers should take at least the first jab by 16 August and 1 September respectively, Health Minister Vassilis Kikiliás said on Tuesday.

Those who refuse will be suspended without pay, while centers that work with unvaccinated employees will face a fine of 50,000 euros, and an extra 200,000 euros if the offense is repeated.

Starting this Friday and until the end of August, indoor areas of bars, restaurants, discos, cinemas and theaters will open at 85% capacity, but only for vaccinated customers.

In Portugal, such requirements entered into force during the weekend, and had a major impact on restaurants.

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