Governments around the world are finding themselves with a tough choice. What should they do about people who are unvaccinated by choice?
Here are some of the countries where life’s starting to look different for the haves and have-nots when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.
Under Austria’s new rule, unvaccinated people can only leave their homes for a limited number of reasons—mostly to work or shop for food. In theory, police will be carrying out spot checks to ensure people wandering around in public are complying.
In October, the German government ended quarantine pay for the intentionally unvaccinated. Last week, it announced that adults who refuse to get vaccinated would be excluded from receiving free SARS-CoV-2 tests.
Last month, Italy began requiring citizens to carry a government-issued “green pass.” Now, it is mandatory for those wishing to work or wanting to enter restaurants, bars, movie theaters, museums, or gyms. Soon it will be mandatory for travel.
Earlier this month, Greece announced new restrictions that limit access to cafes and restaurants, state services and banks to those who are either vaccinated or have a negative test. All unvaccinated workers are now required to test negative for SARS-CoV-2 twice a week.
Last week, Singapore announced that beginning on December 8, people who are “unvaccinated by choice” will have to start paying for their own COVID-19 treatment. Up until now, the government has covered all medical costs for Singaporeans.
Individual states in Australia are also unveiling restrictions for unvaccinated people. Queensland will ban them from restaurants, bars, and sporting events starting December 17.
Since the summer, governments in at least eight Chinese provinces have enacted rules restricting unvaccinated residents’ ability to access various public amenities and services—everything from public transit and schools to hospitals.
Clearly, swapping carrots (such as cash rewards for getting a COVID-19 vaccine) for more draconian sticks is becoming more common around the world.
Prague reported its fifth 10k+ case day in the last week on Monday, leaving outgoing PM Andrej Babis to consider following in Austria’s footsteps in adopting a strict lockdown for unvaccinated citizens.
Ministers reportedly are advocating softer measures ahead of a government meeting on Thursday when a range of possible new measures will be discussed.
According to official figures, the Czech Republic has seen hospitalizations shoot up to 4,296 with 635 allegedly in serious condition from Covid.