ATHENS — Greece has entered a different phase of the pandemic and everyone needs to understand this, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni underlined in an interview with Skai television on Wednesday, stressing that the situation was very different to a year or 18 months ago.
"The choice is clear: Either we get vaccinated or we will fall ill…We have the vaccine that did not exist before and which is free, universal and which everyone has access to. It is the only shield to protect ourselves and those around us, together with frequent self-diagnostic tests and observance of the protection measures," she said.
"…all the appeals, all the encouragement, all the incentives given by the government have the aim of convincing even the most sceptical. Each of us must now take responsibility for themselves and, given that they have access to the vaccine, get vaccinated to protect themselves. We hope that by the end of the summer, 70 pct will have been vaccinated," she said.
She emphasised that the government does not intend to order another lockdown and will focus all its efforts on controlling the variant and moving on, "even if this means that for a period we will have to learn to live with the virus, taking steps to protect ourselves." Another blanket lockdown and restrictions would be unfair, she added, especially to those that had observed the measures and shown the individual and collective responsibility that they should.
On the mandatory vaccinations announced by the government, she said staff in care homes would have until August 16 to get their first shot of the vaccine, otherwise they will be forced to take unpaid leave. Healthcare staff will have until September 1, giving time for even the most hesitant to get their first dose. She noted that those in health had to understand that they come into contact with vulnerable groups, in conditions where the virus "superspreads" and that they have an obligation to protect themselves and the patients.
On the decision to open indoor places of entertainment and hospitality as 'Covid-free' areas, to which only the immunised (through vaccination or illness) will be given access, she said this was the "sound thing to do at this time in terms of health policy".