Greek authorities are looking into ways to allow certain activities next month, including retail and schools, but not (non-essential) domestic travel after the chairman of the Greek Medical Association, Athanasios Exadaktylos, said the Covid-19 viral load was decreasing.
First in line to open gradually is retail initially allowing shoppers to make purchases by click-away method. Specific dates are expected to be announced this week.
“We are expecting stabilization and a reduction in cases towards the end of the week. Some activities may be re-opening from March 1,” Exadaktylos told SKAI television. He added that the final decision would depend on the number of intubations and the ICU load.
In the last 24-hour period, Greece recorded 884 new Covid-19-related incidents and 25 new deaths.
Meanwhile, the government will be re-assessing its measures on Wednesday, reiterating that return to normalcy hinges on a drop in cases and viral load and on the number of hospitalizations and health care facility capacity.
For the time being, the country’s Covid-19 committee is not giving the go-ahead for the operation of restaurants and bars.
Greece moves quickly with vaccinations
Approximately 700,000 people have been vaccinated so far and Greek health authorities expect that once older age groups are inoculated pressure on the health system will be alleviated.
Referring to the effectiveness of the vaccine, Exadaktylos said that 8 percent of the Greek population has acquired resistance to Covid-19, adding that the possibility of someone getting coronavirus if they have been vaccinated is small, “and if that happens, they will experience it lightly”. He added however that it is not yet clear whether vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus.
Non-essential domestic travel still not allowed
With regard to travel, Exadaktylos expressed his optimism for a better Easter and summer this year, adding however the for the time being (non-essential) travel between regions cannot be allowed as Greece has not yet achieved population immunity. He said however that if supply is ongoing and vaccinations proceed at the current rate, Greece will have successfully achieved targeted levels.
With regard to the vaccination certificate currently being issued in Greece to those who have been inoculated, State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis on Friday said: “We will all be able to travel and the certificate will not be a prerequisite for traveling inside or outside the country. The vaccination certificate is not a travel passport but creates a better control requirement.”
More support coming for businesses, employees
In the meantime, Gerapetritis said over the weekend that an additional “bridge” of financial support would be announced in the upcoming days for businesses and employees. According to data, every month of lockdown costs the Greek retail sector 1.4 billion euros and the economy up to 3 billion euros.
Deputy Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis expressed his concern about the duration of the lockdown, adding the country must be able once the measures are lifted to begin its recovery. In this direction, SMEs will be eligible for aid through the Recovery Fund with emphasis on “green” incentives.