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EU divided over efforts to contain COVID-19

Jerome Hughes

Press TV, Brussels

People in Greece, aged 60 and over, are facing a €100 fine if they refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid January.

Vaccination will be mandatory in Italy from February. Civil rights groups are not happy. In two other EU nations, Portugal and Ireland, people entering must show a negative test result even if they're fully vaccinated. The European Commission is against further travel restrictions within the 27-country bloc.

The commission has just unveiled a new strategy designed to ensure greater cooperation between EU member states. Health officials are being deployed to help countries identify the new Omicron variant.

150 million people in the EU are not vaccinated despite the jabs being available. The bloc's health officials say it would take 100 days to modify existing vaccines to tackle a new, resistant variant. Children aged 5 and over can now receive a vaccine in the EU. Antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 sufferers are expected to be available soon.

According to European Medicines Agency data, 93% of adults in Ireland have been vaccinated. The COVD-19 death toll during the past 14 days, per one million of the population in that country, is 15. In Bulgaria and Romania, where less than half of the people have been vaccinated, the death toll, during the same period per one million of the population is 250.

Pandemic support funding for EU countries, agreed last year, is being distributed too slowly, experts warn. As coronavirus cases continue to soar in the EU, many business operators feel they have no choice but to give up.


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