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Not Vaccinated? Prepare to Pay as Governments Ready Crackdowns

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 12/11/2021 Anne Pollak

(Bloomberg) -- As the latest Covid-19 wave flares up, countries are starting to take a tougher stance toward those who haven’t been vaccinated.   

From sending those without shots into lockdown, to forcing them to pay their own Covid medical bills, here are some of the steps being taken to try to encourage more people to get immunized.   

Deserted Streets in Singapore As Island Still Set on Reopening © Bloomberg Deserted Streets in Singapore As Island Still Set on Reopening

Lockdown in Austria

The country with one of the lowest inoculation rates in western Europe may soon announce a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated or those that haven’t recently recovered from the illness, according to Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. The hardest-hit province of Upper Austria, located between the German and Czech borders, plans to implement the measure starting Monday. Under the new rules, those who haven’t had shots would only be allowed to leave home for work and to buy essential goods.

Medical Bills in Singapore

In Singapore, those who choose not to get their jabs will now have to pay for their own medical bills if they get Covid. Patients who receive therapeutics and stay in intensive care units may have to pay about S$25,000 ($18,460), according to a median estimate released by the health ministry. 

Cash in Lithuania 

Many countries in Europe require vaccination certs to enter bars and restaurants, but Lithuania has gone a step further. Citizens over 16 must provide Covid immunity certificates to enter any restaurant or cafe, shopping malls, cinemas, beauty salons or any other public indoor premises or events. The rule will be tightened further from end of December and will apply to everyone over 12-years.

The government also plans to starting paying 100 euros ($114) to people over age 75 who get their two doses between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, or who get a booster shot before March 31. 

Mandate in U.S. 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration issued an emergency rule forcing large private employers to require vaccination or regular testing. The Labor Department said the mandate will apply to companies with 100 or more employees and set a Jan. 4 deadline. Failure to comply could trigger fines of as much as $136,000. 

About 5% of unvaccinated workers left their jobs when their employer imposed a vaccine mandate, according to an October survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

President Biden Delivers Remarks On Authorization Of Covid-19 Vaccine For Ages 5 To 11 © Bloomberg President Biden Delivers Remarks On Authorization Of Covid-19 Vaccine For Ages 5 To 11

Estonia Firings

Many public agencies required that employees get vaccinated or face dismissal. Fifty unvaccinated employees of the police and border guard agency are suing their agency over this policy and on Thursday a court granted them temporary relief pending further review of the policy.

Estonia also requires vaccine passports at public venues such as restaurants and gyms – negative tests are no longer accepted.

Forced Leave in Ukraine

In Ukraine, teachers and government officials who aren’t fully vaccinated have been sent on unpaid leave from earlier this week. Restaurants, shopping malls and fitness centers are allowed to operate only if 100% of their staff got shots. Public transport across the country is available only for vaccinated people. 

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