ATHENS – Health restrictions lifted to lure tourists during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic won’t be reimposed in Greece in the autumn unless the Coronavirus spikes and would be milder measures, Health Minister Thanos Plevris said.
He told SKAI TV that, “We have treatment protocols, a vaccinated population and antiviral drugs,” although 28 percent of the population isn’t fully vaccinated and anti-vaxxers weren’t compelled to get shots.
“This complete mix makes us optimistic that we will never again see compulsory and restrictive measures,” the minister added, while cautioning that it depends on reviews of epidemiological data and tracking cases.
“We are prepared to take measures if there are different dynamics. We expect new waves in the autumn. The feeling we have is that we won’t need to take measures, and if we do they will be of a mild nature,” Plevris said.
Despite that optimism he said there was still a recommendation for using masks, which few do anymore, although it will be mandatory for students in classrooms and indoor areas when they return to school in September.
He appealed for those who aren’t vaccinated to be inoculated to protect themselves against being seriously ill if they get infected but it’s unclear whether plans for fourth booster shots were being promoted.
As for updated vaccines, he noted that Moderna’s and Pfizer’s are in the final stage of testing for Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. “We hope to have the vaccines within the year,” Plevris said.
That adds to the confusion over whether people with three shots should now proceed with a fourth or wait until updated versions that would give them protection against mutations.