Flu plan drawn up, no verdict on schools

Kindergartens are to open as normal over the next few weeks but no decision has yet been taken on whether to keep schools shut because of fears of spreading swine flu, Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday, as he revealed how the government plans to inoculate all Greeks against the disease. Avramopoulos said that the government had decided that private kindergartens should open as normal on August 17, while state-run ones would begin welcoming children on September 1. However, he said that a final decision had not yet been taken on whether to allow schools for older children to open without any delay as well. The minister said that authorities would reassess the situation before the first day of school on September 11. More than 1,000 people in Greece have contracted swine flu but Avramopoulos said that only two people are still in intensive care, without giving further details. The government has announced plans to inoculate the whole population as soon as the anti-swine flu jab becomes available. The minister said that plans are already being drawn up to decide the location of the centers that will offer the vaccine. He said that plans for the inoculation of residents of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki had been finalized. There will be some 150 centers in Athens and Thessaloniki, which will be open seven days a week and staffed by doctors and nurses. The centers will keep electronic records of each patient as each person will need to have jabs on different dates to ensure they are properly protected against the disease.