ATHENS - Counting on self-test kits to join with vaccinations in slowing the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece’s New Democracy government said they will be compulsory for service workers in more sectors as done for students and schools staff.
That includes people working in shops, restaurants and transport, authorities said, reported Reuters, accelerating a drive to try to restore the economy even as the pandemic is lingering.
The country is still technically in a lockdown more than five months old although it’s been eased after being defied and ignored so much it hadn’t worked and led to public gatherings.
The kits will be made available through pharmacies and were first given to students and teachers in high schools that reopened on April 12 despite fears that could spread the Coronavirus.
Workers in cleaning services, hair salons and betting shops will be required to do one test a week from April 19, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis told a weekly COVID-19 briefing, the news site said.
“We are drafting self-testing to control the spread of the coronavirus at work,” Hatzidakis said, announcing fines for employers who do not ensure the tests are carried out.
While cases are starting to decline, deaths and the number of people in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have risen to the point where it’s alarming health officials and the government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists.
The situation in the wider Athens area, where nearly half of the country’s 11 million population lives, has stabilised, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias told reporters, while warning against complacency.
While Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he won’t make vaccines mandatory for health care workers on the front line of the fight against the pandemic he urged others to get them.
So did Kikilias who said, “Book a date, go get inoculated and protect your family,” without explaining why health care workers don’t have to for now.