By Bloomberg News
(Bloomberg) — In the battle against the coronavirus, the unvaccinated are being increasingly targeted.
Germany and Israel are moving closer to making Covid-19 vaccine shots compulsory, Greece is introducing fines and Spain is banning some unvaccinated travelers. Despite protests, making life harder for those who don’t want a shot is a tactic increasingly favoured by governments, spooked by the spread of the omicron variant.
Here are some of the measures against the unvaccinated deployed by governments around the world.
The government is making vaccines mandatory for all Greeks above 60 years of age. From next month, refuseniks will pay a 100-euro (US$113) fine every month they don’t get a shot, with the funds going to hospital services. In Greece, only 60,000 among the 580,000 unvaccinated people over 60 years old received the vaccine in November.
The country with one of the lowest inoculation rates in western Europe will remain in lockdown until mid-December. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has vowed to then lift restrictions for the vaccinated or people recently recovered from the virus. A lockdown for the unvaccinated will probably persist, though they can still go to work with a negative test. Officials are also working on plans to impose mandatory vaccinations from February, with fines reaching as high as 7,200 euros (US$8,151).
Bars and restaurants in Finland refusing to use Covid certificates will no longer serve booze after 5 p.m. in the latest attempt by the government. Health authorities in the northern town of Kajaani offered a thousand plastic buckets to entice people to get a shot, playing off a joke that Finns will line up for anything for a free bucket.
Spain’s Travel Ban
Spain has effectively banned travelers from the U.K. who aren’t fully vaccinated. From Dec. 1, it will only accept proof of vaccination for adult entry. U.K. government advice also says that a certificate of recovery from Covid isn’t accepted either by Spanish authorities.
The government in Budapest allows employers make vaccinations compulsory for staff in an effort to push people to get the shot. Anyone who doesn’t can be placed on unpaid leave.
Slovakia’s Finance Minister Igor Matovic wants to give out vouchers worth 500 euros to everyone over the age of 60 who gets vaccinated, including those who have already received the shot. The vouchers, which could be used in restaurants and hotels, are opposed by some forces in government, but Matovic is hoping to push it through with the backing of some opposition lawmakers in parliament.
Singapore’s Medical Bills
In Singapore, those who choose not to get their jabs will now have to pay for their own medical bills if they get Covid. Patients who receive therapeutics and stay in intensive care units may have to pay about S$25,000 (US$18,460), according to a median estimate released by the health ministry.
Many countries in Europe require vaccination certs to enter bars and restaurants, but Lithuania has gone a step further. Citizens over 16 must provide Covid immunity certificates to enter any restaurant or cafe, shopping malls, cinemas, beauty salons or any other public indoor premises or events. The rule will be tightened further from end of December and will apply to everyone over 12-years.
The government is also paying paying 100 euros to people over age 75 who get their booster shot before March 31.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration issued an emergency rule forcing large private employers to require vaccination or regular testing. The Labor Department said the mandate will apply to companies with 100 or more employees and set a Jan. 4 deadline. Failure to comply could trigger fines of as much as US$136,000.
About 5% of unvaccinated workers left their jobs when their employer imposed a vaccine mandate, according to an October survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In Ukraine, teachers and government officials who aren’t fully vaccinated have been sent on unpaid leave. Restaurants, shopping malls and fitness centers are allowed to operate only if 100% of their staff got shots. Public transport across the country is available only for vaccinated people.
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