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Greek Health Minister Says COVID-19 Threat Not Going Away

ATHENS – The COVID-19 pandemic may be easing – there are still several dozen deaths a day – but the Coronavirus will likely never go away and people will have to learn to live with it in Greece, said Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

Talking to reporters ahead of the Easter holiday period, during which health measures have further been eased, bringing some worry it could boomerang if cases rise, he said the government has given priority to bolstering national healthcare and protecting vulnerable groups.

He said that those policies and a review of epidemological data shows that Greece can co-exist with the virus although Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis long ago backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots.

“The protection measures are there; we do not believe in a zero-covid policy, the figures allow us to move in a framework of co-existence with the virus. We will monitor the course of the pandemic and we will adapt accordingly,” he said, adding that the epidemiological picture justifies the new management of the pandemic.

As Plevris explained, the measures will exist but will not be obligatory: “We do not believe in a policy of zero-Covid as China does. On the contrary, we believe we can follow another model, to monitor the pandemic and adapt to it”.

Plevris also said that Greece’s death rate from COVID-19 is below the European Union average, dismissing criticism it was too high, as the major rival SYRIZA repeatedly said.

He said the latest data showed that 28,701 people have perished from COVID and its complications, especially the elderly and those with mulitiple or underlying conditions, who are the most susceptible from it.

There have been 3,252,248 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the same data showed, meaning about one in every three people in the country had contracted the virus at some point.

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