Greece imposed on people over the age of 60 fine of €100 a month if they fail to receive vaccination.
The new measure came under the government’s first general COVID-19 mandate.
The measure was announced in response to a surge in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
The authorities will add the fines to the tax bills starting from Jan. 16, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised announcement Tuesday.
Greece’s death toll exceeded 18,000 this week with confirmed infections at record levels, as roughly a quarter of the country’s adult population remains unvaccinated.
The World Health Organization has warned that the global risk from Omicron variant is “very high” based on early evidence. It further said it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”
The new variant was first identified in Botswana, before it rapidly outcompeting other versions of the virus in the region of South Africa that includes Johannesburg.
A top health official calls it “the most significant variant” to date, but the UK didn’t confirm any cases to date.
“It is bad news, but it’s not doomsday,” an Oxford scientist tells the BBC.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the UK is taking a “safety-first approach” in regard to the travel ban.
Nine countries including Germany, Italy, Israel and Singapore have also restricted travel.
The World Health Organization will hold a special meeting later today to discuss the variant.