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COVID-19 Deaths Fall in Greece, Cases Linger, Vaccinations Speed

ATHENS – Signs are showing that Greece's accelerating campaign to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population against COVID-19 is working, with deaths falling to 23 on June 2, nearly half the previous week's average.

That brought the total in the more than 15-month pandemic to 12,145, although half of those occurred in the previous four months as the Coronavirus surged with many ignoring health restrictions to carry out parties and public gatherings.

However, deaths in proportion to cases and intubations were lower in the third wave than in the second wave, due to vaccinations, said Kathimerini, with the numbers of shots being stepped up as more doses arrive.

The number of new infections announced by Greek health authorities on June 2 was 1,381, from 1,886 the day before, bringing the total to 405,542, according to data from the National Organization for Public Health (EODY).

With a lenient pseudo-lockdown now eased so much it's essentially non-existent, many people are acting as if the pandemic is already gone, shunning masks and not keeping safe social distances.

Restaurants were allowed outdoor dining to attract tourists who were allowed to enter on May 15 but many eateries are packing the tables and some are even bringing customers inside, a violation that has seen little enforcement used.

The New Democracy government is still trying to keep tabs on the pandemic and people taking ferries to islands where the government is trying to inoculate all residents must fill in a health declaration form even if they are fully vaccinated.

Tourists with vaccinations, a negative molecular test or proof they have recovered from the virus are allowed into the country without facing the risk of quarantine or further testing.

The declaration is available on the Shipping Ministry website. Passengers must fill in the online form and print it. The document must be displayed before boarding the vessel.

Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis told state broadcaster ERT that the measure will ensure a smoother and faster boarding process for the ferries where capacity is being limited to 85 percent for those with sleeper cabins and 80 percent for those without on shorter runs to islands closer to the mainland.

Greece was to start vaccinating the migrant and refugee population on the eastern Aegean islands against COVID-19 on June 3, beginning at the Kara Tepe facility on the island of Lesbos, the Vial center on Chios, and the Vathy camp on Samos. 

Vaccinations will be administered every Thursday and Friday by staff of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot from the United States before expanding to other island and mainland facilities too.

Officials said only 15 percent of Greece’s migrant population have so far said they are willing to get vaccinated with no explanation why they can't be forced under the risk of deportation or being denied asylum processes.

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