CORONAVIRUS

Greece mulls lifting some Covid restrictions, says minister

greece-mulls-lifting-some-covid-restrictions-says-minister

Greek authorities are considering lifting some Covid-19 restrictions as part of a plan for gradually re-opening a fragile economy, a minister said on Friday, even as hospitals remain under pressure from stubbornly high case numbers.

Higher temperatures that encourage outdoor activities and optimism over ramping up vaccinations in April will allow epidemiologists to recommend a staggered lifting of curbs, Deputy Interior Minister Stelios Petsas told state television.

“We’re heading towards conditions that will be a little bit looser,” Petsas said. The government will decide later on Friday when restrictions will be eased, following proposals by a panel of epidemiologists, he said. He didn’t specify which would be lifted.

Greece has fared better than many other European countries, but it has seen more that 7,000 deaths and suffered heavily from a renewed surge in cases, which has forced the government to re-impose some restrictions that had previously been lifted.

Non-essential shops, restaurants and schools have closed as the country has imposed and lifted curbs since November.

State hospitals, badly hurt by a decade of underspending, have struggled to deal with treating some 4,000 Covid patients. Health authorities have urged doctors to volunteer their services to help.

Greece reported 3,073 daily infections on Thursday, with the total number of cases reaching 230,317. [Reuters]