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Health

Oh-Oh: Rising COVID Could See Masks Back on in Greece

ATHENS – Easing health measures to lure tourists pouring into the country hasn’t worked out in Greece with COVID-19 cases rising again that the New Democracy government is said to be mulling bring back a mask requirement.

The administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who had long ago backed away from a pledge to consider making vaccinations mandatory, also has let anti-vaxxers roam around freely, continuing to spread the disease.

The National Public Health Organization EODY said that increased movement and people aged 18-24 ignoring any idea of trying to take any precautions is another factor, along with Omicron subvariants.

Health advisors said that the COVID transmission rate has risen to 1.3, which means that every 10 people infected will infect another 13 – backing estimates that the current wave will peak by the middle of July.

Hospital admissions and intubations have also been rising in the past three weeks, the EODY representatives confirmed, though they added that the public health system has not come under undue pressure yet.

But they also said the government’s panel of doctors and scientists will make a recommendation for masks to become mandatory in all public settings like supermarkets and stores – where the unvaccinated are still allowed.

Masks are still allegedly required on public transport but are largely being shunned and it wasn’t said if they would be required inside restaurants, which could be a deterrent to tourists and customers, with anti-vaxxers mixed in.

Speaking an emergency public briefing in Athens, EODY chief Theoklis Zaoutis and epidemiology and preventive medicine expert Dimitris Paraskevis pointed to data showing that the number of active cases nationwide right now is estimated at between 150,000-200,000 said Kathimerini.

Paraskevis noted that the biggest increases in cases have been seen on the islands of the Ionian and southern Aegean and in Crete, but also in the Greek capital where health measures have essentially been abandoned for now.

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