Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday said the lifting of Greece’s lockdown restrictions and opening of activities will be done responsibly and carefully.
“The goal is to have a safe Easter and also a summer with even more freedom,” he said while speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
“It is extremely important that we continue responsibly on the path we have set, combining the protection of our health with the careful re-opening of activities in the economy, in everyday life, in education,” Mitsotakis said.
Greece has three ‘allies’ against Covid-19
The Greek PM pointed out that Greece is moving into the last but “most sensitive” phase of the pandemic and appeared optimistic that the country can overcome the situation with its three “allies”.
“We have three allies – vaccines, the good weather weather and mass testing – against one opponent,” Mitsotakis said, adding that at the end of April vaccinations in Greece will exceed 3 million in total.
“This is a bridge to the wall of immunity that is being built at a rapid pace,” he said.
Moreover, the Greek PM requested for his party members to avoid making premature assessments of when coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown measures will be lifted.
Stressing that the threat of the virus remains among us, the prime minister said the government will continue to take “one step at a time” and every week evaluate the epidemiological data in collaboration with the health experts.
Self-testing will help ease lockdown restrictions, says minister
The Greek government is currently planning its steps for the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions based on the epidemiological data and the advice of the Covid-19 health committee.
At the moment, aiming to safely reopen activities, the government is putting its hopes on a self-testing strategy to help with mass screening to detect asymptomatic cases.
Greece’s Covid-19 self-testing strategy kicked off with high school students and teachers in order for schools to re-open safely. The strategy was deemed a success as some 600 students and teachers were detected to be asymptomatic through Covid-19 self-testing and therefore did not attend classes when high schools reopened on April 12.
The self-testing strategy is expected to continue on more groups of citizens such as office, retail, food delivery and public transport workers.
Shopping malls, restaurants, cafes
According to Greek Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis, self-testing will help with the re-opening of shopping malls.
“With the self-tests, the goal to open shopping malls will be more easily achievable,” he said while speaking to SKAI TV on Tuesday.
“After Easter, I believe we will be able to open if the pandemic develops smoothly,” he said, clarifying that outside areas of restaurants and cafes would re-open first.
When asked if movement restrictions will be lifted for the Easter holiday so citizens can travel between prefectures, the development minister said that it is “premature to make an assessment” and that official announcements will be made based on epidemiological data.
With Easter approaching, Greeks are waiting to be informed if lockdown restrictions will ease so they can travel to the countryside to celebrate the holiday. Movement between Greek prefectures is currently banned (except for health and work reasons) due to the government’s effort to curb the spread of the virus.
It has been rumored that movement between prefectures for the Easter holiday will be allowed only for those that have a negative self-test result. However, this has not been confirmed.
The government is expected by Holy Week to announce if free movement between prefectures will be allowed for Easter and under what conditions.