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Greek Doctors Divided Over Omicron Effect on Schools Reopening

ATHENS – While Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said there’s no way that schools won’t reopen in Greece on Jan 10 after their holiday period ends, health advisors are split on whether it would be safe to do so.

Nicholas Tzanakis, Vice-President of the Hellenic Thoracic Society told SKAI TV it would be a mistake for the Premier to keep to that vow because some 14 percent of people under 20 in the country are considered COVID carriers.

But now Matina Pagoni, President of the Athens and Piraeus Hospital Doctors Association said the schools must reopen, telling the station that stopping classes wouldn’t slow the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron Variant.

She said that’s because of other activities still being allowed as Mitsotakis has focused his attention on an economic recovery while trying a mix of measures to try to check the pandemic, which aren’t working.

A hard-core sector of anti-vaxxers is also spreading the Coronavirus, even to those fully protected with three shoots including a booster, with as many as 17 percent of patients on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) inoculated.

Pagoni acknowleged that between Omicron and holiday crowds being allowed to gather and shop that there will continue to be record-breaking numbers of cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients and deaths into mid-January at least.

The government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists, which regularly checks epidemiological data is due to issue its recommendation on the schools although Mitsotakis has some times rejected them.

But it is likely to give the okay for schools to start again, said Kathimerini, but with increased testing for students and teaching staff, no word on what would happen if schools pass a threshhold of 30 percent infections which would see them close.The government’s expert committee on coronavirus is set to issue its recommendation on school reopenings later this week. According to reports, the committee is likely to recommend a return to class, with increased testing for students and teaching staff.

Tzanakis said that if schools do open as scheduled they will be forced to close within 5-10 days as the government has already lowered the threshold for suspending classes from 50 percent plus one student to 30 percent infected.

“Omicron is very aggressive, highly transmissible,” Tzanakis said. “Would you rather have parents stay at home with their children in good health or at home, unable to work, with their children sick?,” he also said.

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