ATHENS – Wavering between being tough and lenient, the New Democracy government’s second COVID-19 lockdown has been so uneven that there’s worry that leniency and allowing churches to open for Epiphany Day celebrations will bring a third wave of the Coronavirus in February.
That fear was expressed by the President of the Athens and Piraeus hospital doctors’ association (EINAP), Matina Pagoni, who said it would ramp up pressure on beleaguered public hospitals, the government not moving to use private hospitals as promised.
Speaking on SKAI TV, Pagoni said that a nationwide lockdown, currently in place until January 18, will most likely need to be extended by at least two weeks, until the end of the month, after being extended four times already.
Pagoni said that the government must ramp up the rate of vaccinations in order to meet its targets after original estimates that millions of shots would arrive fell far short, less than 100,000 in the first two batches.
Officials have said the aim is to reach daily vaccination levels of 17,500 doses per day by the end of January, in a country of more than 10.5 million people.
While more people had been obeying health protocols to wear masks and stay safe social distances from others, the church’s defiance led some businesses to follow suit and open surreptitiously or openly to operate again.