Greek Health Minister Leaves Open Possibility of a Stricter Lockdown

February 9, 2021

ATHENS — Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, in an interview with Open TV on Tuesday morning, said that he intended to ask the health ministry Committee of Experts to discuss a lockdown similar to that imposed last March, if cases continue rising this week.

"For 11 months we have been fighting an unequal battle with the coronavirus and we have succeeded. Now we are fighting a battle against time. That is, until we vaccinate 60-70 pct of the population. So I think it is very important that we walk on the right path. We have no right to do anything less than what is demanded by necessity. Therefore, the picture that I have based on the current data and that of the experts suggests, if today's figures are similar – we will wait for [EODY's announcement] – my recommendation, if you will, to the committee will be a shorter but tougher horizontal measure. That is, a lockdown like the one we had the previous March, which will de-escalate the situation and get things under control," Kikilias said.

However, he clarified that "it is the committee that makes the recommendations. It is my obligation, and this is what I will do when the Committee meets again, to present all the information that I presently have at my disposal."

Finally, the Health Minister referred to the experience Greece has gained from the second wave – and especially in Northern Greece – explaining that through this the country already has a mechanism for checking the epidemiological and infection data day by day, so that it can promptly intervene.

"It no longer about a battle that has no end date. The vaccines are here. It was not a given for a year. It was not a given that we would have vaccinated 410,000 of our fellow citizens and in a few days we will be close to vaccinating half a million Greeks," he concluded.


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