Greek authorities announced that a night curfew still in place from the previous months’ lockdown will remain in view of slower-than-expected vaccination rates and the appearance of new strains on the island of Crete.
“We will have to show some patience until the end of June,” said Government Spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni on Thursday, adding that she expects nothing to change with regard to the 12.30-5am curfew.
Epidemiologists are once again urging Greeks to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to remain vigilant adhering to social distancing rules and mask wearing.
The country’s Covid committee is expected to convene later today to examine the possibility of extending on June 15 the curfew by an hour, excluding vaccinated individuals from self-test requirements, and re-opening nightclubs and bars.
Greece has seen a drop in the number of daily cases over the last few days. On Thursday, the country recorded 1,239 new coronavirus incidents and 39 new deaths. But health officials are warning that people need to get vaccinated.
According to “Our World in Data”, approximately 2.16 million people have been fully vaccinated in Greece, or 20 percent of the population.
Greek Medical Association Chairman Athanasios Exadaktylos urged older citizens to get vaccinated, particularly those over 60. Speaking on SKAI television this week, he said that almost 35 percent of the 60-year-old population has not been vaccinated despite being among the high risk groups.
At the same time, the vaccination rollout on the island of Samos came to halt due to lack of participation. The campaign, part of the “Blue Freedom” island vaccination plan to run between June 5-9, was cancelled, said the island’s general hospital chief Nikos Stefanis. The initial plan was to vaccinate some 4,300 people but only 110 booked.
According to the health ministry’s General Secretary of Primary Health Care, Marios Themistokleous, Samos is one of five islands with the lowest turnout with only 30.32 percent of the island population vaccinated.
On Crete, meanwhile, experts are examining a series of new mutations which had initially been reported in Russia and Norway. At the same time, authorities this week started vaccinating thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers living in state-run facilities on islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samos.