Spokesman defends government decision to open schools
A spokesman for Greece’s conservative government has defended its decision to open schools after the winter break Monday despite the leap in coronavirus infections driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, amid data that more than 15,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 the previous day.
During a press briefing Monday, Ioannis Oikonomou emphasized that mass testing – like the screening program for pupils and staff introduced by the government in Greece – was the best intervention strategy for Covid-19 control in the general population regardless of the presentation of symptoms.
The spokesman said that a total of 15,547 children were found positive after mandatory rapid at-home diagnostic testing conducted Sunday, adding that without the screening tests infected children “would be spreading the virus unknowingly.”
Oikonomou also dismissed speculation that authorities were facing a shortage of rapid tests adding that occasional unavailability was due to problems at distribution chain level.
Stressing that the mental health and social consequences of closing schools should also be taken into consideration, Oikonomou said that the government’s expert committee on Covid-19 will meet Wednesday to review progress and examine potential adjustments to the safety measures in place.