Greece to end free COVID testing for unvaccinated


Posted at Aug 24 2021 07:25 PM

ATHENS - Greece said it would end free testing for unvaccinated people to boost inoculation rates and head off any renewed spike in Delta variant infections of the coronavirus.

The country has recorded 13,422 deaths since reporting its first COVID-19 outbreak in February 2020.

New measures which will come into effect on Sept. 13 stop short of forcing people to take a jab, but end free testing and oblige unvaccinated persons to test either once or twice a week, depending on their profession.

The costs of the rapid test, set at 10 euros ($12), is a sizeable chunk of money for people in the crisis-hit country where salaries average 1,161 euros a month.

Authorities said some six million people in the country of 11 million had already received one or two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, but that a million more were needed to build adequate immunity.

"In contrast to autumn of last year, this autumn everyone can be vaccinated," said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias. "Do we live, or play Russian roulette with the coronavirus?"

Free testing for vaccinated people would continue, Kikilias said.

"These measures are not punitive," he said. "They are our duty to all those who went through 18 months of the pandemic carefully, those who lost their shops, jobs, had to work from home to protect themselves."

About 53 percent of the Greek population is fully vaccinated. Authorities hope to increase that figure to 70 percent by the autumn.


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