Endeavoring to ensure that Greece stays the course in the battle to contain the spread of Covid-19 during the holiday season, the government is not ruling out the possibility of a ban on the circulation of cars from Saturday at 8 p.m. through Easter Sunday.
Briefing reporters on Monday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that “travel to relatives’ and friends’ houses to celebrate [Easter] together is not allowed.”
The government aims to prevent overcrowding in homes and yards, which could create new outbreaks of the virus at a critical time.
“The real threat is that we could have a relaxation [of vigilance],” especially on the days when the Resurrection is celebrated on Saturday midnight and Easter Sunday, when people want to visit friends or relatives. He added that “we will do whatever it takes to ensure” that this does not happen.
If further restrictions are indeed announced over the next few days, they are expected to be the last ones, as was evident in Monday’s televised address by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is planning a gradual return to normalcy.
Mitsotakis said the return to normal life will be gradual, in phases, and only when it is supported by scientific data. He added that measures will remain in place to protect the elderly and those suffering from serious illnesses.
The prime minister commended Greeks for adhering to the restrictive measures implemented over the past five weeks but warned against complacency that could lead to a resurgence of the virus.
“The war has not been won yet,” he said, adding that Greeks have endured personal sacrifices “with a high sense of responsibility.”
Mitsotakis said the restrictive measures “won us precious time” to better organize the national healthcare system.
He also pledged to add hundreds of intensive care unit beds to swiftly bring Greece in line with the European average and prepare the country for next winter, when the virus is “very likely” to return. “We achieved in five weeks what hasn’t been done in decades.”
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry confirmed another Covid-19 death, bringing the total number of fatalities to 99.
Health Ministry spokesman and infectious disease expert Sotiris Tsiodras said in his daily press briefing that 31 new cases of the virus were recorded, raising the total to 2,145, of whom 56 percent are men.
He said 73 patients are intubated in ICUs, of whom 81 percent are also suffering from other conditions or are aged over 70. Health authorities have run 43,417 tests in the country.