Covid-19: Greece Aiming for Safe Easter and Summer with More Freedom
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.
With regard to the reopening of restaurants and cafes, Georgiadis said F&B establishments may possibly open before Greece officially opens for tourism.
“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.
Some of us have partners who work in the tourist industry with Amka numbers who are being vaccinated but what about us without Amka who are unable to get the vaccine despite applying via the website!? As we all know vaccination does not stop transmission so what do we do isolate from each other in our own homes!!
i HAVE BOOKED FOR KALAMATA ON MAY 24TH GOING TO STOUPA. WITH TRANSAVIA FROM AMSTERDAM. 3 WEEKS. I HAVE HAD PFIZER VACINATION AND I THINK THAT WILL BE ENOUGH AS I AM STAYING IN AN APT. AND COOKING MY OWN MEALS. I SURE HOPE THAT EVERYTHING WILL GO OKAY. I AM DYING TO SWIM IN THE OCEAN AND EAT GREEK FOOD AGAIN AND SMELL THOSE WONDERFUL HERBS AND PICK SPRING FLOWERS IN THE MOUNTAINS.
It is all well and good saying that we have three allies, but those of us who do not have AMKA will need to remain in lockdown, even when restrictions are lifted as vaccines are not being distributed to us nor are the self testing kits.
Yes, the government says you can get a temporary AMKA, but for the majority of those who have applied,, the system doesn’t work. We have tried all aspects to obtain an AMKA, through our S1’s; through our 10 year biometric cards, but because we don’t have our birth certificates we have been rendered ineligible. The temporary AMKA is our last hope, but I am guessing we won’t get a vaccine until we have jumped on the first plane back to the UK when flights do open up at our local airport. Will we be so quick to return even though we have owned a house here for nearly 16 years? I wonder!
Those who are resident in Greece without an AMKA number currently have no way of getting the vaccine or testing kits so how can we travel between prefectures? We have applied for temp AMKA but no system is working! (Emvolio)
The World Health Organisation said months ago that it was very rare for Asymptomatic people to spread the Virus. In the UK 37 cycles is used before a negative test, scientists say 20 cycles shows infection over 25 cycles no infection or spread, there are thousands of false positives. For us to go to Greece this year we will have to pay £240 for two tests, we could be positive with a reading of 36cycles, nothing wrong with us, and lose our holiday. Including Flights & Accommodation it costs us £2400 we normally spent another £2000 during our time there. We were in Crete last year and i had two weeks in Kos as well, but its a gamble this year as the tests are not reliable. Some say get the vaccine we are not getting vaccinated with a rushed vaccine, which does not stop you getting the virus, i had the virus over a year ago before test kits were available, my wife looked after me and she did not catch it. I live in hope that the virus tests will be dropped, but i am not holding my breath.