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Society

Greeks Hope for Easter Travel, Church Services During COVID-19

ATHENS – With a half-lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 already pulled back to allow most non-essential businesses across Greece to open, the next question is whether people will be allowed to travel during Easter and churches open.

The New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who wants to get the economy going again and has given up trying to control public gatherings in city squares, is due to make the decision by April 23, said Kathimerini.

That would be ahead of the Holy Week period leading up to Easter on May 2 when many Greeks traditionally travel to their ancestral villages for gatherings, dinners and also go to Church.

They were deprived of that in 2020 as the pandemic raged and while the battle hasn't been won against the Coronavirus, government officials have noted “lockdown fatigue” and people almost frantic to travel on Easter and go to church.

The government's panel of doctors and scientists making recommendations on health restrictions is divided, the paper said, with some believing inter-regional travel and church openings would be safe and others fear it could cause a bigger outbreak.

Adding to the dilemma is that the government on April 19 is allowing travelers from a few select countries with proof of vaccination or a negative Coronavirus test to enter and plans to open to mass tourism on May 14.

A slow-rolling vaccination program is also being accelerated in a bid to beat back the deadly disease and spark an economic comeback with bars, restaurants and taverns still closed and likely not to open until sometime in May, if then.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 315,273 confirmed Coronavirus cases, with 9,462 fatalities but the other worry for now is that deaths and the numbers of people in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) keeps going up.

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