NEWS

Regional travel with self-tests or shots

With May seen as pivotal, government intent on cracking down on any feeling of complacency

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With the lifting of the ban on interregional movement set for May 15, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said on Wednesday that travel will only be allowed with a negative self-test or vaccination certificate.

It has not yet been decided whether proof of one or two doses of the vaccine will be required.

The ultimate goal of these requirements is to put a brake on the spread of the virus in provincial areas where hospitals are most vulnerable, but also to remind the public that the danger of the coronavirus has anything but passed and that the pandemic is still very much among us.

Government sources have also pointed out that Greece is still is in a transitional stage where social and economic activities coexist with the virus. The month of May, the same sources say, is pivotal and the country simply cannot afford to relapse into lockdown restrictions. 

A case in point is the total lockdown on the island of Kalymnos, which shows that the risk of a relapse is very much real.

Nonetheless, there is moderate optimism among government officials that the pandemic, even if very slowly, is de-escalating and that from mid-May, in parallel with what has been announced – the opening of tourism and start of interregional movement – there will be a further easing of restrictions.

Something that is being considered, as requested by restaurants, is to further shorten the nighttime curfew so that it starts at midnight instead of 11. This request could be implemented as early as this Monday or May 15 in parallel with the opening of tourism, as Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Wednesday. At the same time, the system of using text messages for movement is also expected to be scrapped on May 15.

The government’s optimism was also echoed on Wednesday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself, who said during a digital conference organized by the Financial Times that the situation will improve significantly in May.

“I do expect the situation to improve dramatically over the next months,” he said, stressing that the infection rate and hospital admissions are declining. He also cited the acceleration of vaccinations and self-tests, noting that the level of 100,000 vaccinations per day has been exceeded.