Greece will make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for people over 60 in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
In the first vaccine mandate focused on a specific age group to be rolled out in Europe, the city will fine those who fail to comply with a recurring monthly fee.
From January 16, anyone in the age group who has not received the jab will be hit with a €100 ($159) fine.
Vaccines are already mandatory for a number of people around the world, including health workers and those in specific working conditions, but no other country in Europe has mandates targeting a specific age group.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said more than half a million elderly Greeks were yet to get their vaccination, and while the decision was a tough one, it was necessary.
"It's the price to pay for health," he said.
Vaccines are currently mandatory in Indonesia, Micronesia and Turkmenistan while more than 30 countries have mandatory vaccines for certain workers and to attend venues and events.
Greece currently holds a rate of vaccination of 63 per cent across its 11 million person population.
"We are focusing our efforts on protection of our fellow citizens and for this reason their vaccination will be mandatory from now on," Mitsotakis told a cabinet meeting.
Syriza, Greece's main opposition party, faulted the measures as being punitive and financially excessive.
"This hasn't happened anywhere," it said.
It isn't yet clear how authorities will be able to enforce the rule, but the average monthly salary in the country is €730 ($1,160) meaning the fine will be significant for most Greeks.
"[The decision] tortured me, but I feel a heavy responsibility in standing next to those most vulnerable, even if it might fleetingly displease them," he said.
Greece introduced new restrictions obliging churchgoers to present negative COVID-19 tests to attend services on Sunday following a surge in infections in recent weeks https://t.co/eEpjABTpwE #COVID19gr pic.twitter.com/HXlzUwVJiz
- George Roussos (@baphometx) November 28, 2021
Greece's daily cases spiked at the beginning of the month with 8,969 infections while the seven-day average sits at around 6,300.
It has recorded 931,183 infections and 18,067 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.
The country has not yet recorded a case of Omicron, though several others in Europe including Germany, Spain and the Netherlands have.
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