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Greeks Warned COVID-19 Pandemic Not Over, Wear Masks

ATHENS – With growing signs that Greeks are fast shaking off the fear of COVID-19 even as the pandemic keeps hospitalizing and killing people, health authorities have warned they should adhere to what's left of protective measures.

That includes wearing masks and keeping safe social distances, both essentially ignored now by many and with restaurants packing people in outside seating on top of each other and some allowing dining inside which isn't allowed yet.

An accelerating vaccination program is working to drive down the number of cases but still hasn't hit the 20 percent mark of the population, with 70 percent needed to be effective, with many anti-vaxxers refusing to be inoculated.

“Compared to last summer, we have significant differences,” Charalambos Gogos, Professor of Clinical Pathology at Patra University told the newspaper Kathimerini about the danger of complacency.

“Now we have a greater epidemiological burden. The latest wave may be steadily receding, but the number of daily diagnoses, intubated patients and deaths remains high compared to last year,” he said.

He said a new generation of testing capabilities, including self-tests and rapid tests have a high degree of accuracy and can be counted on to deliver results that could be analyzed properly.

Panhellenic Medical Association president Thanassis Exadaktylos said, “People must avoid situations where there is overcrowding and we cannot wear a mask,” but it's too late for that in many places where the advice has been ignored.

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