The government is implementing a two-phase plan to delay and limit, as far as possible, the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The plan will unfold over the holidays and the first weeks of 2022.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Tuesday the free distribution of two self tests to all residents. He noted that he rejected proposals for mandatory rapid tests as such a measure would be unfair to those vaccinated and ultimately would be very difficult to implement.
Mitsotakis said that, depending on the evolution of the pandemic over the first weeks of 2022, the government has at its disposal a range of options, such as the extension of work from home and the adjustment of opening hours in catering and entertainment. “No suspension of the operation of schools, however. But everything, I stress, will be judged by the data available then. No decision has been made yet,” he said.
Mitsotakis said at a cabinet meeting Tuesday that the government’s goal for the coming weeks is twofold: first, “delay, as far as possible, the spread of the new variant [of the pandemic] which, certainly, will become the most prevalent. Second, “take advantage of this time window to strengthen our defenses, mainly with the third, booster vaccination.”
The first phase of the plan is to “go through the holidays safely without freezing the economy and society, but also not to have to pay for the activities of those days later…In this period, our weapons are the tests. All of us, vaccinated and not, should self-test. Diagnostic controls will continue,” he said.
He recommended that residents do more than the two free self-tests, depending on their planned activities.
“The Greek state has already distributed 80 million free self-tests, spending €150 million. And this care by the state will continue, with even more means, such as the new [anti-Covid-19] drugs, whose use will sprread once they get official approval. So, the message this year, as well, is that safe holidays are the best holidays,” Mitsotakis added.