Greece’s Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced early Monday evening a series of measures against the spread of the coronavirus and thus on the same day as the country experiences a negative record of all times since the start of the pandemic: 9,284 new coronavirus cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, 4,038 of them in Attica alone.
Despite the record number of infections, Plevris said that the measures will go into force on 3. January 2022 because “the health system is not under particular pressure and we’re just a few days before the New Year (Eve celebrations).”
He stressed that the majority of new infections, 75% are aged 18/20-59, while another 20% is below 18 years old.
“Six percent are over 60 and around 90% of them have also had the booster shot,” he said adding that young ones should avoid contacts with parents, grandparents and vulnerable people if they go out in entertainment facilities.
The new additional measures
Mandatory Masks: KN95 masks or double surgical or double fabric mask in supermarkets, public transport means; to be wore also by restaurants and catering facilities staff, and where there is crowding.
Restaurant, bars and entertainment venues to close at midnight.
- No standing customers
- Maximum 6 persons per table
- Music is currently allowed
Teleworking by 50% in private and public sectors and rolling working hours.
Sports stadiums: spectators allowed at 10% of capacity and maximum 1,000 people
Visitors to nursery homes and hospitals: only with PCR test of 48 hours
No visits by pharma representatives to hospitals
The measures are in force 3-16 January 2022, however, they could be extended if deemed necessary.
Plevris warned that if violations are being noticed in entertainment and sports stadiums, then a) music will be banned in the first and b) sports events will be behind closed doors.
The measures announced by the government are supposed to follow the recommendations of the Epidemiologists’ Committee that met earlier on Monday. It remains to be seen, whether the experts also suggested the measures to be implemented before or after the New Year.
Nikos Tzanaki, Pulmonology professor and veice president of the Greek Pulmonology Society told state broadcaster ERT that the government took the decision to implement the measures from January 3.
Many Greeks already criticize the new measures on social media with the majority of them pointing out that by January 3 half of the population in the country will be infected due to the New Year celebrations.