Despite what were described as serious objections raised by one-third of the members of the committee of health experts that advises the government on Covid-19 matters, the reopening of senior levels of high school (Lykeio) across the country on Monday was decided on Wednesday after a majority vote (18 for and nine against).
The plan foresees two self-tests a week for students and teachers.
Among the naysayers was leading infectious diseases specialist Sotiris Tsiodras, also a household name since the pandemic started last year as a senior government adviser.
More specifically, Tsiodras positioned himself squarely against the easing of measures. He, along with others, insisted on the need to delay the opening for at least one week, when there will be a better picture of the pandemic after the opening of retail stores last Monday.
The reasoning of the members who did not vote in favor of the decision is that, at the moment, the pandemic is at its highest point, with indicators not receding. They argued that opening all the classes of Lykeio (three levels – grades 4, 5 and 6) will bring additional population mobility that will burden the current situation even more.
What’s more, concern was also expressed that the reopening of the schools in Thessaloniki, Achaia and Kozani will also push back the reopening of retail trade in those areas.
One solution that was proposed at the meeting was for only the senior high school level (Grade 6) to resume classes, but this was rejected by the Education Ministry.
Meanwhile there was no sign of the pandemic letting up on Wednesday, with health authorities confirming 3,449 new cases of Covid-19 (out of a total of 55,000 tests), and 75 deaths of patients who had been infected with the disease.
According to Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, 1,670 new cases were identified in Attica and 398 in Thessaloniki, which, as he stressed, remains a serious concern for health authorities and scientists. A total of 114 cases were reported in Achaia, 85 in Larissa, 74 in Pella, 59 in Kozani and 56 in Serres.
The transmissibility index (Rt) across Greece was estimated at 0.96 and has remained stable in recent weeks, despite the restrictions. There were 749 intubated patients on Wednesday.