Vaccine, masks in schools will be free, PM says

Vaccine, masks in schools will be free, PM says

When Greece receives the Covid-19 vaccine, all Greeks will be able to be inoculated for free, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Friday, adding that pupils and teachers will also get free masks when schools reopen next week. 

“I want to be absolutely clear, the vaccine will be available free of charge to all Greek citizens,” Mitsotakis said during a teleconference with other state officials on the government’s response to the pandemic. “We do not yet know if it will be one or if there will be more. We do not know when we will have it at our disposal. We hope sooner rather than later,” he added. 

Earlier this week, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said Greece has made a deal to receive 3 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca if it passes phase four of clinical trials. 

Mitsotakis also confirmed that face masks will be distributed for free to pupils and teachers returning to classes in the new school year a day after his Education Minister Niki Kerameus said that face masks will be mandatory inside school buildings and outdoors when conditions are crowded.

Meanwhile health authorities announced emergency restrictions for the regions of Karditsa, in central Greece, and Pieria and Pella, in northern Greece, following localized spikes in coronavirus infections there. 

The measures resemble those introduced in other parts of the country with similar spikes such as Attica, Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaloniki, Larissa, and the islands of Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos. 

They include a ban on the operation of bars, clubs and restaurants between midnight and 7 a.m. and a limit of 50 people on all public gatherings with the exception of theaters, cinemas and other venues where health protocols are in place. 

The measures are to apply from 6 a.m. on Saturday until 6 a.m. on Tuesday September 1.

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