A decision by Greek authorities to re-open the retail sector has been pushed back several times due to spikes in the number of Covid-19 cases over the past weeks with the national committee of health experts set to convene on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of easing containment measures.
Greek Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Tuesday said the pressure on the health care system, the ongoing street rallies, the British strain of the virus are all hurdles to re-opening trade safely.
Georgiadis said the ministry was however seeking ways to get the market going, particularly in view of the fact that people were now suffering from Covid-19 fatigue due to the ongoing lockdown regulations.
“We are trying to find the golden mean; it’s not an easy exercise. I remain optimistic that we will find a way to open up,” he said.
Health authorities however are warning that it is too early to ease lockdown. On Wednesday, epidemiologists are expected to at least set a time frame for the resumption of activities with some, such as hair salons opening on March 22, retail shops by click away on March 29, and schools later in April. Authorities are also considering extending the school year by two weeks. Other issues on the agenda include allowing travel by car between regions and municipalities currently forbidden.
Referring to the rise in cases, the president of the Hellenic Society for Infectious Diseases, Panos Gargalianos, attributed the increase to new virus variants which have made it more transmissible. He added however that measures have absolutely no effect if they are not followed.
The Greek government is aiming to have vaccinated half of the adult population by June and 70-80 percent by August.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Greece’s National Vaccination Committee recommended the continuation of the vaccination drive with AstraZeneca vaccines, which were under investigation after concerns that they may cause serious side-effects including thromboembolic episodes (blood clots).
World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine safety experts were due to meet today, to discuss the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Cyprus, Luxembourg, Latvia, Sweden, Germany, France, Ireland, and Italy said on Monday that were suspending the vaccine’s use pending assessment by the EU medicines regulator (EMA).
In the last 24-hour period, Greece recorded 1,533 new coronavirus cases and 59 deaths.