Greek officials are reiterating that there will be no national lockdown orders despite the surge in Covid-19 cases over the last month and health experts’ warnings of a tough holiday season ahead.
Greece reported 8,100 new coronavirus cases in the last 24-hour period but Government Spokesman Yiannis Economou confirmed this week that the government was not considering additional measures at the moment and that any potential restrictions would only concern the unvaccinated.
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT, Economou stressed that efforts were being made to keep the market open at all costs.
“The government will make every effort implementing measures to keep the market open. The economy is not going to close, we are not going to go back to a process of ‘closed life’,” he said, adding that the aim was to help business owners and employees who were greatly impacted by the previous lockdowns.
He added, that the focus was on increasing the county’s vaccination rate and went on to announce that monoclonal antibody infusions would be starting at the end of the week.
More Greeks Getting the Jab
Health Minister Thanos Plevris echoed Economou, adding that there was no discussion at the moment of requesting rapid testing for the unvaccinated wishing to enter super markets or shops selling basic needs.
Reiterating the call for vaccination, Plevris said that since the beginning of the year, of the total Covid cases reported, 85 percent concerned unvaccinated individuals compared to 15 percent vaccinated, and 94 percent of those in ICUs were also unvaccinated. He added that 90 percent of deaths concerned unvaccinated individuals.
Plevris went on to add that 73.5 percent of the adult population in Greece was currently vaccinated compared to 64-65 percent a month ago.
Also speaking on SKAI, Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas also ruled out the possibility of a national lockdown and said that Greece could in no way be compared to Austria, which has a very different tourist season compared to Greece, and has taken measures to safeguard its tourism product.
On Monday, Austrian authorities placed approximately two million unvaccinated residents in lockdown allowing them to leave home only for work- or health-related reasons or shopping.
Deputy Minister of Digital Governance Georgios Georgantas confirmed that so far nearly 75 percent of the adult population had been vaccinated and added that Greece was proceeding “exceptionally well, we will exceed 7 million for the first dose on Friday”, he said, adding that “more than 20,000-25,000 people are booking appointments every day”.
Greek Health Experts Warn Difficult Christmas Ahead
Meanwhile, epidemiologists and health experts are calling for tougher measures warning of an even stronger wave of Covid-19 infections in the coming month.
Speaking on SKAI channel, pulmonology professor Theodoros Vassilopoulos said he was not in favor of a national lockdown, warning that “it will be difficult for us to spend Christmas”.
Instead he too emphasized the need for complete vaccination and immunity in order to prevent loss of life.
Meanwhile, in the EU, an ongoing debate is examining the duration of Covid vaccine effectiveness and whether there is enough evidence to validate the need for a third dose (booster) in order to keep travel open across the Union as a fourth wave hits member states.