Greece is keeping its tough Covid-19 measures in place with plans to re-open restaurants and sports facilities last amid fears of rising cases and an increasing spread of virus variants, authorities said this week.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias ruled out the possibility of re-opening restaurants, F&B services and sports facilities at the moment. He did say, however, that outdoor dining would likely come first “but it’s too early for this to happen, as a strategy is gradually being established related to vaccination and the development of the pandemic”.
With regard to athletic activities, Hardalias cited global scientific studies that “link the spread of the virus with the operation of gyms, especially indoors, indoor exercise, and this obviously influences the recommendations and decisions of infectious disease experts”, he said.
The announcement, however, has created a stir among athletic circles including athletes, coaches, trainers, federations and team members who are planning to stage a protest on Friday, outside the General Secretariat of Sports in Athens.
Meanwhile, Hardalias reiterated that the possibility of a general lockdown is “always on the table”, but added that any decisions made are a result of ongoing assessment and expert Covid-19 committee guidance.
“At a time when the third wave is sweeping large European countries and the entire world community, we are still resisting, under difficult times, with difficult decisions, but we are always here trying to be one step ahead of the rest,” said Hardalias.
Meanwhile, earlier today, while visiting the Sepolia neighborhood in central Athens, National Public Health Organization President Panagiotis Arkoumaneas said he was expecting a spike in new coronavirus cases this week.
“It is very likely that we will have a four-digit number of cases and that is why, combined with the increased number of mutations, we should all be vigilant and take action,” he said.
Greek health authorities on Tuesday then reported a total of 1,261 new Covid cases, half of which in the wider Athens area, and 22 deaths.