NEWS

Officials brace for possible Easter crowds

officials-brace-for-possible-easter-crowds

The government is both encouraged by the behavior of citizens, who seem to be adhering to social distancing guidelines, and fretting that the runup to Easter Sunday, on May 2, will provide opportunities for violating those guidelines.

“Most of our fellow citizens seem to understand the importance of avoiding [excessive] Easter movement,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday. “All reacted to the gradual opening of some economic activities with maturity and discipline,” he added.

New cases of the coronavirus are on a downward trend, even accounting for the fewer number of administered tests. On Monday, authorities announced 1,317 new cases on less than half the average number of tests. There were also 80 fatalities and 811 intubated patients.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 334,436 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 10,087 fatalities, or a little below 1 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Officials are still worried about a last-minute exodus, or attempt at one, from the cities that would spread the disease across the country: The capital area accounts for about half the new cases, sometimes more, each day.

They are also worried about crowd presence at the Epitaphios procession on Good Friday, as well as the celebration of the Resurrection Saturday night, which this year will be celebrated at 9 p.m. instead of the usual midnight.

Travel between regions may be prohibited, but short-term bookings of holiday homes at the capital area’s seaside resorts have shot up, raising fears of large crowds in those areas.

One of the experts advising the government on the pandemic, Professor Nikos Sipsas, predicted on Monday that, by the summer of 2022, the coronavirus will not worry us anymore. He added, however, that he does not exclude a fourth peaking of the disease, around January next year, despite the vaccinations. Then, he added, Covid-19 may become another seasonal flu or be altogether eradicated.