Greek health authorities expect the number of Covid-19 cases to soar in September and October and are warning of a harsh fall ahead after a spike in incidents over the last few weeks.
Epidemiologists expect to see the number of cases increase due to the return of Greek holidaymakers and lax adherence to measures over the summer.
The government is expected to announce new measures to address the pandemic next week, said Government Spokesperson Yiannis Economou on Thursday. New rules may include admission to closed venues (restaurants, bars etc) only to vaccinated individuals as well as mandatory mask wearing. Other measures under examination include employees being required to take (and pay for) two PCR tests every week.
Greek infectious disease expert and Covid-19 committee member Charalambos Gogos confirmed this week that Greece was currently experiencing the fourth wave of the Covid pandemic with the highly transmissible Delta variant now prevailing.
Greece Goes ‘High Risk’ Red on ECDC Map
Gogos went on to add that the unvaccinated face the highest risk, adding that the viral load was steadily increasing.
Over the last 24-hour period, Greece recorded 3,273 new coronavirus cases and 20 deaths with Covid-19 ICU units at 63.06 percent capacity.
The increase is evident on the weekly ECDC map published on Thursday, which includes popular destinations such as the Ionian, Dodecanese and Cyclades islands and Crete, where lockdown-style measures are currently in effect in Rethymno, Chania and Heraklion until 6am on August 25.
“We are not finished with the pandemic. The government is offering all the weapons available to stop the virus and restore daily life to a good level in autumn and winter,” said Economou, adding that the times require maximum seriousness and responsibility “in order to reduce the cases, limit hospitalizations and losses”.
Reiterating the importance of vaccination, General Secretary at Ministry of Health Marios Themistocleous announced on Thursday that the National Vaccination Committee has decided to proceed with a third vaccine dose in September for certain vulnerable groups including individuals who have undergone organ or marrow transplants, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and kidney patients.
Meanwhile, starting today, unvaccinated travelers coming from 13 countries and wishing to enter Greece will be required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival at the airport.
According to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) Covid-19 rapid testing is now mandatory for unvaccinated travelers – regardless of nationality – coming from Egypt, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Georgia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, Libya, Morocco, Russia and Turkey.