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Politics

Mitsotakis Says No Mandatory COVID-19 Tests, Only Self Tests

December 21, 2021

ATHENS – Rejecting advice from his panel of doctors and scientists, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 won’t have to have mandatory rapid tests to get into indoor venues, but has recommended self tests instead.

“It is true that I received recommendations for mandatory rapid tests for everyone in order to enter entertainment venues. I rejected them, because I considered that such a measure would be unfair for the vaccinated and, in the end, very difficult to implement. So instead of imposing something on everyone, I chose to trust everyone,” he said, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANMA) reported.

While a persuasion campaign to get people to be vaccinated has largely failed, and anti-vaxxers also oppose other measures including testing, Mitsotakis said he would try it again, but without imposing a cost.

“The state will provide two more free self tests for the entire population. With the recommendation that the first will be used during the holidays and the second immediately after the New Year. I ask our fellow citizens to use them, especially before large-scale festive gatherings,” he said.

It was part of what he called a two-phase plan to “spend the holidays with safety, without freezing the economy and society but also without the activities of these days costing us later. And certainly at this time, our weapons are the tests. Everyone, whether vaccinated or not, should do a self test,” he said, hoping they would.

The tests generally are good for 48 hours so two a week wouldn’t cover the possibility that people could be infected in between at some point as they are not molecular or rapid antigen tests that are more reliable.

Read more: A Testing Holiday Season in Greece: COVID-19 Checks for All?

He said that after the holidays, early in 2002 that depending on if the pandemic worsens or not that other measures could see remote working extended and having staggered hours for restaurants and entertainment.

“We are, however, against a suspension of the operation of schools. But everything, I emphasize, will be decided by the data at the time. No decision has been made yet,” he said, even if the situation worsens now.

Read more: Greece Confirms 6,424 New COVID Cases on Tuesday, 77 Deaths

He had earlier backed away from considering mandatory shots for all even though anti-vaxxers are spreading the Coronavirus and there is worry about the Omicron Variant being another catalyst.

The unvaccinated are supposed to be kept out of indoor venues, including restaurants and bars, but there’s been no reports on if,  or how they are, as the Greek Church admitted it can’t even attempt to vet those coming in.

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