Greece lifts COVID-19 restrictions

“It is obvious that the country’s epidemiological picture is showing a steady improvement,” Nikos Hardalias said. [EPA-EFE/BOUGIOTIS VANGELIS]

The Greek government is satisfied with how the current loosening of lockdown restrictions are going, and coupled with the high percentages of vaccinations, it has announced plans to accelerate the further loosening of COVID-19 measures within the next few weeks.

As the opening of the retail sector and the high schools have not increased the number of COVID-19 cases and more than 4.6 million citizens are scheduled to get vaccinated by July, the Deputy Minister of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias, announced the opening of socially distanced beaches and the increase in the number of customers in shops with one customer per 50 square meters allowed. Appointments in retail shops are still mandatory for the customers.

The Greek education system will reopen Monday with in-person classes as more than 1.1 million students and 127,300 teachers returned to kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, with mandatory testing on school grounds. The government has also provided citizens with free testing kits that are distributed by pharmacies all over the country.

The government is also planning to reopen museums (14 May), conservatoires (17 May), outdoor theatres (21 May), and live concerts (28 May) until the end of the month.

“It is obvious that the country’s epidemiological picture is showing a steady improvement,” Nikos Hardalias said.

Greece aims to vaccinate all adults against COVID-19 with at least one dose by early July, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Wednesday. He added that some 2.3 million vaccine doses will be administered during May.

However, the opposition said the government wants to present another reality as the vaccination rollout for elderly has so far been problematic.

Only 63% of citizens over the age of 85 and between 80-84, have been vaccinated with at least one dose. 58% of people between 70-74 have been vaccinated while the figure for the age group 65-69 is 40%.

(Alexandros Fotiadis | EURACTIV.gr)

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