3rd National Lockdown ???

One expert on the commitee of health advisors said that a third tougher lockdown, similar to March and November 2020, cannot be ruled out.  However, that situation remains somewhat distant given the current epidemiological picture in Greece, as the virus has shown new infections, intubations and deaths easing over the past couple of days.  With less than 500 new infections a day and less than 300 Covid-19 patients in intesive care, the data shows that the virus is being contained at present.  The warning is that the new variant of the Coronavirus that emerged in the UK recently, which is more transmissible, has already been traced in Greece and other EU countries, could change that picture if it continues to spread.  It's between the reopening of the econony and schools, and the suppression of the virus.

Greek authoritities are trying to prevent a third wave of the Coronavirus, as variants of the virus start to be detected.  Health authorities are also alarmed by the spread of the mutated strains which are more rapidly transmitted.  There are three mutations at the moment which infect more, the British, Brazilian and South African variants, and there are indications that the present vaccines are less effective for the South African mutation. These new variants have already been reported within many European countries.

A strict 3rd National Lockdown would be catastrophic for everyone, especially after the queues and crowding that were observed over the weekend in the main commercial districts of Athens and Thessaloniki.  Some shoppers sending repeated text messages to the authorities, to extend the 2 hour shopping limit set by the government.  Stores and supermarkets will be allowed to open again next Sunday, between 7:00am and 8:00pm, as the retail market showed over 30% increase in sales, mainly in shoes and clothing.

The Association of Greek Archaeologists have urged the government to immediately reopen all museums and archaeological sites, with the necessary health protection measures.  As Greece enters the fourth month in which all cultural venues, including theatres and art galleries, have been closed, they also suggested free admission for a limited period.  The scientific community now know more about the pandemic and how to deal with it, and at a time when retail and shopping malls have already opened, it is imperative that cultural spaces be opened as well.  Greece's Culture Ministry signed an agreement with Cosmote, the largest mobile network operator in Greece, to expand free broadband services at more archaeological sites and museums across the country, covering 25 sites from the current 14.

A ban on large gatherings, imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, has been introduced until 1st February by order of the head of the Hellenic Police (ELAS).  The measure became effective as of 6:00am on 26th January and prohibits more than 100 people to gather at any given time in any private or public setting.  The measure seeks to discourage gatherings like large parties and protest rallies.  Violations of the ban carry a fine of 5,000 for businesses or organisations responsible for hosting these events, 3,000 for individual organisers and 300 for each person attending such a gathering.  These new measures may continue after 1st February.

Starting 1st February 2021, all grade 7-12 students will return to in-person learning as high schools reopen, having been closed for several weeks due to the Coronavirus.  Greece's Education Minister Niki Kerameus annonced "The pandemic does not stop education, everyone is looking forward to getting back to school" and stressing the importance of getting back to the classroom. The Minister encouraged teachers and students to apply for a free coronavirus test at: edu.testing.gov.gr - a preventive measure.