Greek health experts are examining the possibility of lifting Covid-19 controls for the vaccinated ahead of Orthodox Easter in April but due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant, carnival festivities to kick off next week will most likely be held with restrictions.
Speaking on SKAI radio on Monday, Health Minister Thanos Plevris said the exact rules of operation for carnival season would be announced in the coming days, most likely on Thursday, adding however, that epidemiological data is still not encouraging.
He stressed that the government’s goal was in any case to return to normalcy “as soon as possible”.
The Greek Covid committee is aiming to gradually lift all measures for the vaccinated by Easter following the example of other countries, Greek media reported.
According to SKAI, the government is considering lifting measures in two phases: the first foresees no restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals but still requires mandatory mask-wearing. Restrictions for the unvaccinated will continue.
The government will also be revising testing measures and pandemic indicators and will continue to carry out inspections at schools as part of the second phase.
Referring to the use of masks, Matina Pagoni, president of the Athens and Piraeus Hospital Doctors’ Association (EINAP), told SKAI on Monday that there may be a possibility of removing masks by the summer, adding however it will be difficult to do away completely with masks, especially indoors and on public transport.
Earlier on Monday, Plevris said 330,000 residents were back to “unvaccinated status” and that their Covid certificates had expired due to failure to get the booster shot.
“Citizens who have not received the third dose seven months after the second will not be allowed into closed entertainment and recreation areas and will be required to provide rapid test results for admission to work,” he said.
In the last 24-hour period, Greece reported 10,985 new Covid cases and 95 deaths.