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Greece Eases Lockdown Restrictions, Allows Free Movement Between Muncipalities

ATHENS — The public may travel across municipalities as of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, said Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias at Wednesday's live briefing, at the last live coronavirus briefing expected during Orthodox Holy Week.

Travelling to another prefecture, however, is still not allowed, while text messages are still required for people leaving their residence for whatever reason, he noted.

He also reiterated that curfew through Easter Sunday is still 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Between May 3 (Easter Monday) and May 9, curfew start time will change to 11:00 a.m.

Regarding going to cafes and restaurants, which will be offering outdoor seating on May 3, the code that should be used to send a message to 13033 is #6. These will have to shut down by 10:45 pm at the latest, to allow people to be at home when curfew starts.

Finally the minister reminded the public that on Easter Sunday only two families or a maximum of 9 people in total can meet indoors, and 12 if outdoors. He also recommended that family members self test ahead of home gatherings.

Wide range of age groups to be vaccinated in May

All citizens over the age of 30 will be getting vaccinated against the coronavirus in May, said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias at Wednesday's live briefing on the pandemic.

The minister was referring to the fact that inoculation appointments for three specific age groups (30-39, 40-44, 45-49) are becoming available this week. Citizens aged 50 and over are already being inoculated. As of May 5, he noted, a total of 1,500 vaccination centers will be administering vaccines nationwide.

The target, he said, is to complete 2 million vaccinations in May and 3 million in June.

Speaking alongside the minister, Professor Vana Papaevangelou said that the coronavirus pandemic steadily subsided for a second consecutive week, thus dropping nationally by 14 pct, bringing the rate of positive infections down to 4.5 pct.

Also at the briefing, Professor Gkikas Magiorkinis pointed out that both the regions of Attica and Thessaloniki, the country's most densely populated, have seen a reduction in the virus' dispersal by 11 pct and 14 pct, respectively, the first over the last three weeks, and the latter over the last two weeks.

Both members of the health ministry's committee of coronavirus experts did note, however, that infection rates remain high, and that the total number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals stands at 5,300, whether in regular wards or at ICUs.

Free movement between muncipalities

The movements between municipalities within the same regional unit are free from Thursday (Holy Thursday) and until the end of the week. However the obligation to send an SMS for any movement remains until the abolition of the restriction of movement between regions, Civil Protection and Crises Management Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias announced on Wednesday.

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