Greece has ruled out opening retail on March 29 as initially planned due to an upsurge in Covid-19 cases, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said on Tuesday.
Cases in Greece have been on the rise in March with the latest toll coming to 3,586 new coronavirus cases, 1,535 of which in the wider Athens area. National Public Health Organization President Panagiotis Arkoumaneas said he is expecting the figure to soar in the coming days.
“The last few weeks have been very difficult. We will continue to see an increase in cases in the coming weeks. Everyone needs to be patient and adhere to the measures,” said Arkoumaneas.
Based on the current virus load and the capacity of public hospitals which have reached their limit, health experts are warning against the re-opening of retail or other activities including restaurants and schools. Last week, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said a new round of measures was being considered to offer greater freedom to Greeks who are facing lockdown fatigue after being contained for more than three months.
Petsas set April 5 as a possible date for the re-opening of shops but added that any forecast was premature given the epidemiological situation. He went on to note that by Orthodox Easter (May 2) things “may be better” and movement between regions may be allowed.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias ordered private pathologists, pneumonologists, and general practitioners to offer their services in an attempt to relieve the public health system.
Greece appears to have entered a third Covid-19 wave after Italy, France, Poland, and Germany, which announced earlier today a tough five-day lockdown over Catholic Easter (April 1-5), with a cap on gatherings and allowing grocery stores to open for one day only.