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Greek Health Officials Warn Against COVID Omicron Complacency

ATHENS – Deaths are at record levels but COVID-19 cases are beginning to receded in Greece as the pandemic nears the end of a second year but the Omicron Variant can still cause serious illness, health authorities said.

The variant is more contagious but less deadly than the Delta Variant which is behind most of the serious cases in hospital Intensive Care Units and fatalities but should still be considered serious, they advised.

“Let us not deceive ourselves that things are going better and that the Coronavirus will gradually turn into a common cold,” Vana Papaevangelou, an infectious diseases specialist and member of the country’s expert health committee said, referring especially to the elderly refusing to be vaccinated.

“In the last week, more than 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been among unvaccinated people over the age of 70,” she told Kathimerinii adding that even those who were infected and recovered are still at risk.

She said a study found that vaccinations saved at least 20,000 lives in 2021 although Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots, allowing anti-vaxxers to spread the virus.

“Full vaccination with three doses is the only way,” said  Papaevangelou, and the government no longer considers two shots to be fully vaccinated, which allows those protected greater access to public gathering areas.

Besides health care workers, only those over 60 are now required to be vaccinated and those refusing are being fined 100 euros ($115) a month until they do and unvaccinated health care workers will start being fired on April 1.

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