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Coronavirus: Holidays for jabbed soldiers among possible incentives to boost jabs

File photo of national guardsmen during an exercise

Giving conscripts who get vaccinated extra leave is among the proposed incentives to boost the vaccination coverage of the population, sources said on Wednesday.

The ministerial committee on Covid-19 that convened earlier in the day discussed various options to increase vaccination take-up figures, particularly among the young. The cabinet, that will convene on Friday evening, will take the final decisions.

Bringing back the SafePass for external areas was also discussed, health ministry sources said. The ministry believes this would both boost vaccinations and provide a safety net to both those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.

The committee also looked at the defence ministry’s proposal to grant extra leave to the soldiers who have either been vaccinated or will do so in the near future.

Another suggestion considered raising the occupancy rate in places such as stadiums, cinemas, theatres, etc, provided that visitors are vaccinated. Interested businesses would therefore be allowed to let in more than the 50 per cent of their capacity that applies now.

In the meantime, a decree by the health minister issued on Wednesday extended the existing measures until midnight July 5.

The existing measures provide, among other things, for up to 20 people being allowed to gather in homes, including permanent residents and minors.

Bars and restaurants can operate also their indoor areas, while night clubs are allowed to operate, based on the health protocol. The maximum number of people at tables is 10.

People over 12 must present a SafePass when in malls and in indoors areas of places of worship, museums, luna parks, bars, restaurants, gyms, night clubs, art galleries, etc.

This means they must either present a negative rapid or PCR test not older than 72 hours, or a vaccination certificate with at least the first dose administered three weeks prior, or proof of being discharged from self-isolation in cases of people who had Covid-19. This must not be older than six months since they were diagnosed.

The use of masks remains obligatory in indoor areas for people 12 and over where more than one person is present and outdoors where more than two people are present.

The decree also included the provisions on the introduction of the EU’s digital certificate for the entry of passengers to the Republic which was presented on Wednesday.


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