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Covid-19: Greece Says Firm ‘No’ to Lockdowns Despite Omicron Variant

Photo source: Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (acci.gr)

Photo source: Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (acci.gr)

Greek authorities reiterated on Monday that there will be no national lockdowns and no new measures for those vaccinated against Covid-19 despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant and a surge in positive cases. 

“We are not going into lockdown, we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of the pandemic, reinforce the national health system, and increase vaccination coverage, including the third dose,” Government Spokesperson Yiannis Economou told a press conference, leaving however open the possibility of additional measures for the unvaccinated.

The government, he said, is now focused on keeping “society, the market  and education going”.

Health experts in Greece are once again divided on the issue of prevention, with some calling for stricter measures on public transport and at schools while others claiming it is under control.

According to Economou, the rate of vaccination in Greece has increased by 10 percent over the last 16 days with more than 7 million adults already vaccinated. 

Citing a World Health Organization (WHO) study, as a result of vaccinations more than 12,000 deaths over the December 2020 – November 2021 period have been avoided, he said.

WHO: Omicron Poses ‘Very High’ Global Risk

Referring to the new Covid variant, the Omicron, first identified in African countries, Economou said that authorities were following Covid committee guidance, implementing strict restrictions that ban entry to Greece from affected countries and territories. He went on to add that there were no direct flights form these countries to Greece.

According to the latest preliminary assessment released on Monday, by the WHO, the Omicron variant poses “very high” global risk. The WHO urged caution.

So far, Omicron has been detected in more than a dozen countries, including Canada, the first identified incidence of the variant in North America, Australia, Israel, and Britain.

In the meantime, following the news of the variant, the European Union, the UK, the US, and Canada ordered new travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa. 

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Ruth Hunter Reply

    We are hearing that Greece is planning to close indoor music venues over the holidays- what do you know?

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