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Covid-19: Greece Braces for Omicron Wave, Urges Vaccination

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Greek authorities are urging the public to get vaccinated or get booster shots in the midst of an Omicron wave which has kept cases above 43,000 in the last few days.

Speaking to SKAI television, Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said the government would consider “partially easing” restrictions, but this he said would depend on the force of this week’s Covid wave.

“Our intention is that there should be no further restrictions on other activities… we will re-evaluate next week if these restrictions need to remain or can be partially lifted,” he said.

Current restrictions including no music at bars, cafés and restaurants and midnight closing hoursin effect until January 16.

Plevris also said that a seven-month expiration period for vaccination certificates had been “secured” and it would apply to everyone over 18 years of age. Relevant announcements are expected in the coming days, he said.

“It has been secured that the seven-month certificate will apply to all ages. If someone has not received a third dose in that seven-month period, he will be considered unvaccinated,” he said.

Referring to a 47-euro cap on PCR tests announced on Tuesday, Plevris said anyone selling tests as of Thursday for more than that would face a 5,000-euro fine.

Meanwhile a decision by the education ministry to reopen schools on January 10 with increased testing protocols has triggered mixed reactions by health experts and parents. Starting today parents can get free self-tests at pharmacies.

Photo source: @Ministry of Education

Greece reported 43,386 new coronavirus cases and 62 deaths in the last 24-hour period.

Referring to unvaccinated medical and healthcare professionals, Plevris said they would be required to get the first dose or leave. “Unvaccinated doctors will not return to work if they do not get the first dose of the vaccine,” he said.

Lastly, Plevris in collaboration with the Medical Association of Athens announced the launch in the coming days of an online platform offering medical advice to infected users at home.

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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, 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.

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