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Masks Off? COVID Easing, Greece Mulls Relaxing Health Measures

ATHENS – After daily cases of COVID-19 have fallen under 10,000 – but still dozens of deaths – Greece is nonetheless said to be moving toward further easing health restrictions, including on wearing masks indoors.

The pandemic has begun to wane because more than 70 percent of the country’s population of 10.7 million has been vaccinated, although rabid anti-vaxxers kept spreading the Coronavirus and weren’t required to be inoculated.

The New Democracy government had already lifted a requirement on wearing masks outside and social distancing has for some time been ignored, especially in public gathering places.

The government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists is talking about further relaxing measures, said Kathimerini, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has focused on accelerating an economic recovery.

There’s also been pressure from businesses, especially restaurants, bars and cafes with Easter and spring approaching, to lift masks although the unvaccinated are still not allowed into those establishments.

“We are now in a period of de-escalation of the pandemic in terms of the number of cases, but also regarding the pressure on the national health system, the capacity of hospital beds, serious illnesses and deaths,” Dimitris Paraskevis, professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Athens University told Kathimerini.

But it is likely, the report said, that masks will still be required on public transportation and in supermarkets where the unvaccinated are still allowed, with the potential to infect others.

There could be a relaxation of the measure at workplaces, allowing small numbers of vaccinated employees to work without masks so long as windows are open, the report said.

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