Officials in France and Greece have announced plans to require that health workers be vaccinated, as the infectious COVID-19 delta variant continues to cause case surges throughout the world.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran on Monday said health workers in the country will be suspended without pay if they have not completed their vaccination series by Sept. 15, according to The Washington Post.
He said more than half of the new infections in the country are from the delta variant, according to the Post.
French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench forces kill Islamic State in Sahara leader, Macron says Afghanistan withdrawal foments European distrust of America French 'New Wave' star Jean-Paul Belmondo dies MORE also announced that people who want to go to a restaurant, shopping mall or a hospital, or on a train or plane, will be required to present a special COVID-19 pass which shows proof of vaccination, that someone recently recovered from the virus or not long ago received a negative test result.
During a televised address on Monday, Macron said the country was “facing a strong resumption of the epidemic,” and said hospitalizations could rise in the future if France’s vaccination effort slows down, according to the Post.
“The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate,” he said. The president’s remarks reportedly motivated thousands of French residents to book appointments to get vaccinated on Tuesday.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made similar announcements, saying that health care workers must be inoculated beginning on Sept. 1, and nursing home workers should get vaccinated immediately, Reuters reported.
According to The Associated Press, health workers who refuse to get vaccinated will be suspended.
Greek authorities on Tuesday also said only fully vaccinated people will be permitted to utilize indoor public spaces until Aug. 31, when the policy is set to be reassessed, the Post reported.
“The country will not shut down again because of some,” Mitsotakis said in his televised address Monday, according to the Post. “It is not Greece that is in danger, but unvaccinated Greeks.”
The delta variant has gained steam across the globe, raising concerns that COVID-19 infections and deaths may elevate, especially among unvaccinated populations.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said the delta variant is “ripping around the world at a scorching pace," according to the Post.