NEWS

Experts divided over Covid measures

Experts divided over Covid measures

After much disagreement and acrimony between members of the government’s panel of experts, a new set of restrictions will come into force as of Saturday in Attica, Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, including a ban on movement from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. on weekends as well as the click-and-collect method for retail. 

What’s more, the only businesses allowed to operate on Saturday will be supermarkets, bakeries, gas stations and pharmacies. Schools will continue to operate with distance learning for senior levels.

A hard lockdown reminiscent of that imposed last March also takes effect as of today in Patra, Halkida, Agios Nikolaos, Mykonos and Santorini.

More specifically, hairdressers and beauty centers, roadworthiness testing centers (KTEO), OPAP betting agencies and courts will not be allowed to operate. Schools and nurseries will also remain closed (except for Santorini and Mykonos).

Moreover, as of Saturday, entering and leaving these municipalities will only be allowed for work purposes, while construction activity is suspended for the next five days.

Furthermore, the municipalities of Rethymno on Crete, Pydna-Kolindros in Pieria, northern Greece, Dirfion Messapia on Evia, and Kyllini and Tempi in central Greece are designated as red zones with all the restrictions that this designation entails.

The eight-hour meeting between the experts yesterday was reportedly not without tension as there were clear-cut divisions over the rigor of the measures to be proposed to prevent an exponential spike in the pandemic.

There was also strong disagreement about the operation of schools and retail. One side postulated that the operation of schools increases the mobility of citizens much more than retail, a fact that can contribute to an increase in cases.

The opposite camp supported the need to keep schools open for learning and psychological reasons.

Meanwhile on Friday, 1,195 new cases of Covid-19 and 19 patient deaths were announced. The total number of cases recorded until Friday was 162,107, while total fatalities rose to 5,922.

There were more than 8,500 active cases while 246 patients were intensive care units. In total, more than 1,600 patients are being treated for Covid-19.

Health authorities have conducted a total of 3,207,175 tests since January 2020, along with 1,152,062 rapid antigen tests.