ATHENS — "The epidemiological state of the country remains aggravated and the pressure on the health system continues," government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said on Thursday during a press briefing.
Despite this, she seemed confident that the imminent arrival of good weather, combined with vaccinations and self tests, will make this the final stage of the pandemic, while noting that the reliability of the self tests is high and that, as a testing method, they are constantly gaining ground.
"In most regions there is a stabilisation and a trend for fewer positive tests. Obviously, the greater the number of tests that are performed, the greater the number of cases detected. The important thing is the [rate of] positivity that is found and the [rate of] positivity in the last days shows a gradual decline," she said.
Peloni described this as "a good development" but noted that the balance remains fragile. "Everything indicates, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated yesterday, that we are entering the last but also the most sensitive phase of the pandemic. Along the way we have three allies and one opponent: our allies are the weather, the vaccines and the millions of tests we now have at our disposal. The opponent is fatigue, which brings unjustified relaxation towards a virus that is still waiting."
She noted that "for this purpose, we participate in self-diagnosis and observe social distancing, personal hygiene measures and the use of masks. We protect ourselves and the people we love, while at the same time helping to limit transmission in the general population. We do not relax, we do not rest, we are not complacent."
At the same time, she added, it was important to encourage others – and especially older citizens – to come to the vaccination centres and get vaccinated.
"Already, people aged 60 and over are being vaccinated and younger ones will follow. As of Friday, the platform opens for citizens – approximately 800,000 – aged 18-59 with underlying diseases of higher risk. The platform for teachers and the 55-59 age group will open on Wednesday, April 21. Next Saturday, April 24, citizens aged 50-54 will be able to make an appointment," Peloni pointed out.
She also noted that, after delivery of 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the EU was brought forward to the second quarter of the year, instead of the fourth as originally planned, Greece will receive an additional 1.2 million doses of this vaccine.
Peloni referred to the EU's digital green certificate facilitating travel those that have had the vaccine. "A positive development is the fact that Coreper – the ambassadors of the EU countries – on Wednesday came up with a joint text for the implementation of the green digital certificate. The decision, as is known, was taken by the European Council with the decisive intervention of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was the first leader to outline the relevant proposal. They even reiterated the commitment of the 27 to have the framework ready by the summer. The decision is now being referred to the European Parliament, which is expected to approve it in the near future."
She concluded: "Today an agreement is being signed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, and Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias for the opening of a WHO Office in Athens for Quality of Care and Patient Safety. The choice of Greece is a recognition of the work done by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the government in the management of the pandemic and the implementation of public health policies."