Updated on: Thursday, December 02, 2021, 06:40 PM IST

COVID-19: Finland, Greece report their first cases of new Omicron variant


Finland and Greece reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Thursday, the countries' health body said.

The Finnish institute had previously said it was investigating cases that had been identified with a PCR test to have a potential mutation to match Omicron.

Greek citizen on the island of Crete had returned from South Africa last month, its Health Minister Thanos Plevris told reporters. The man, who has mild syptoms, and all his contacts have been quarantined, the head of Greeceā€™s public health agency EODY Theoklis Zaoutis said. His contacts have tested negative so far and have been closely watched by Greek authorities, he added.

Greeks who are over age 60 and refuse coronavirus vaccinations could be hit with monthly fines of more than one-quarter of their pensions - a get-tough policy that the country's politicians say will cost votes but save lives.

With the delta variant of COVID-19 pushing up cases in Europe and growing fears over the omicron variant, governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines.

It's a thorny calculus made more difficult by the prospect of backlash, increased social divisions and, for many politicians, the fear of being voted out of office.

In Greece, residents over 60 face fines of 100 euros (USD 113) a month if they fail to get vaccinated. The fines will be tacked onto tax bills in January.

About 17 per cent of Greeks over 60 are unvaccinated despite various efforts to prod them to get their shots, and nine in 10 Greeks currently dying of COVID-19 are over 60.

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Published on: Thursday, December 02, 2021, 06:40 PM IST