New measures against the spread of coronavirus, announced yesterday by Health Minister Thanos Pleuris, come into force in Greece on Saturday. Why was such a decision made and can it be called punitive?
Recall from November 6 all Greek citizens must comply with the following restrictions:
unvaccinated public and private sector workers must take two tests weekly (at their own expense); access to banks, shops, hairdressers and bodies providing public services is possible only with a certificate of vaccination, a certificate of the coronavirus transferred within the last 6 months, or after presenting a negative express test or PCR test (PCR). Exceptions are grocery stores, churches, pharmacies; control will be strengthened in shops and catering establishments. Fines are increasing – for non-compliance with the measures, the owner will have to pay up to 5,000 euros, and the work of the store will be suspended for 15 days. It is planned to inform the public about violators; fines will be applied at sports venues where measures to curb the spread of coronavirus are not followed.
And now, in detail about each item in this list, not punitive (!), The government emphasizes, but measures aimed at protecting the majority of citizens.
The final decision was made yesterday, November 2, amid a shocking EODY report on coronavirus aggression over the past 24 hours: 6,700 new cases, 59 deaths, 434 patients on intubation. There are over 1,100 new infections in Attica and Thessaloniki. A day earlier, infectious disease specialists discussed the situation and presented their proposals to the government.
Starting Saturday, only grocery stores, pharmacies, and a church can be visited without a negative test result or vaccination. For owners of cafes, restaurants, clubs, shops or bars, the fine for non-compliance with the established measures is doubled – up to 5,000 euros, and the institution is closed for 15 days. In addition, they will be included in a “black list” open for public inspection, which will be regularly updated to inform citizens about business owners who do not respect their health and do not comply with measures.
The government also intends to fine sports teams whose fans do not comply with the regulations – violate the established distance in the stands and ignore masks.
Health Minister Thanos Pleuris explains that the health care system, doctors and medical staff are on the brink of their capabilities. Giving interviews to the media, the director of the Covid department of the general hospital Larissa faints from fatigue – yesterday this video spread on the networks and became a confirmation of the enormous burden on Greek hospitals. Yannis Gabranis “bent” with fatigue when he wanted to talk about the latest changes. In fact, as writes larissanet.gr, the doctor was unable to finish his interview – he received the first support of his colleagues and sought medical help.
Nikos Dafulis, President of the Association of Doctors of Larissa Health Centers, says:
“The situation is tragic. Our hospital collapsed. She exceeded the number of covid incidents allowed. Oxygen reserves are also lacking ”.
Mr. Pleuris emphasizes that everything possible is being done to confront the health system with the new challenges of the coronavirus. There are 1,300 intensive care beds and 2,000 permanent doctors. Public and private hospitals work in close cooperation – in the north of Greece, private clinics have already provided beds for patients with coronavirus. While the assistance of private doctors in the provision of services is encouraged, but the possibility of calling them at the peak of a new wave of a pandemic, as it was in the past, remains open.
Despite the difficulties with the rapid spread of COVID-19, unvaccinated health workers remain suspended from work. This measure is maintained until the end of the year, contracts with them will not be extended.
The Minister of Health emphasized that at this stage of the pandemic we have a significant advantage – this is a vaccine, since “vaccinated people are 30 times less at risk of serious illness and hospitalization than unvaccinated people.” He noted that more than 80% of those hospitalized in intensive care units are not vaccinated.
The government is betting in the fight against the pandemic, including the vaccination with the third dose of those who have expired six months after the second. From Friday, a platform will be open for all adults over 18 to sign up for vaccinations. The Minister stressed:
“For those who have passed six months since the first vaccination, the risk is higher.”
In conclusion, Thanos Pleuris noted that about 73% of adults in Greece are already vaccinated, and assured that the government does not plan to take restrictive measures like those used in previous waves of the pandemic, including eliminating blocking.