COVID MEASURES

Greece looks to Israel as government seeks to ease lockdown

greece-looks-to-israel-as-government-seeks-to-ease-lockdown

The course of Greece’s vaccination program is emerging as the key parameter for stopping the pandemic and gradually returning to normalcy.

According to research data comparing the development of Israel’s vaccination program with that of Greece, a reduction in the number of deaths from the coronavirus should be expected in early April.

What’s more, research conducted at the Technical University of Crete predicts that the effect of the vaccination program in curbing the negative effects of the pandemic will be seen at a lower percentage of those vaccinated compared to Israel, which has so far fully vaccinated about 50% of its population, due to two factors: the targeted vaccination coverage of elderly and vulnerable groups and the smaller total number of infections.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that the health system remains under intense pressure, the government wants the gradual lifting of restrictions on economic and social activities to begin next week. Its reasoning is based on the fact that the gap between admissions and discharges from intensive care units is constantly closing. This result of this is expected in mid-April. Furthermore the weather is improving. From Thursday the temperature will start to climb to 20 degrees Celsius, favoring outdoor activities. Since scientists are convinced that the dispersion of the third wave was mainly due to people spending more time indoors, the opening of activities will transfer social life to outdoor areas.

The third factor is linked to the very satisfactory progress of the vaccine rollout. Until Monday 1,609,774 vaccines had been administered, with the coverage rate reaching 10.1%. The average number of vaccinations per week currently stands at 224,018, while 1,993,733 appointments have been scheduled. The method of self-testing is also expected to favor the easing of measures as citizens will be able to test themselves.

Relevant decisions are expected within the week after the committee of experts meets on Wednesday to evaluate all the data. It is very likely that from next Monday, retail stores will partially reopen, together with high schools, while there will be a relaxation of movement between municipalities.

As far as retail is concerned, consumers will be allowed to go shopping once a day after sending an SMS to the new 5-digit telephone code 13032. This would allow retail to reopen without the click-away and click-inside methods.