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Greek Health Advisor Sees Omicron Danger in School Reopenings

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis should change his mind and not let Greece’s schools reopen Jan. 10 because of how contagious the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 is, a top respiratory disease doctor has advised.

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.

The doctor 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 said.

Omicron has driven cases to record levels including 40,560 on Dec. 31, some 13 times higher than the summer when the country was reopened to tourism, and Tzanakis said he believes there will be average of 55,000 cases through mid-January.

There was also worry that easing health restrictions in December to speed an economic recovery and let people gather and shop would bring more cases and Mitsotakis has backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory vaccinations if it did.

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