ATHENS – After admitting he waited too long in a bid to save the economy to bring a second more lenient lockdown in November, 2020 to slow the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he won’t make the same mistake again if another shutdown is needed.
The second closing saw non-essential businesses shut for another two months before they were allowed to open again this month, with limits on the number of customers and how long they can be in the store.
But even that, along with people getting away from wearing masks or keeping safe social distances caught health officials by surprise to see a sharp and sudden rebound in the number of cases that had been falling.
That has led the New Democracy government to rethink whether it would be safe to reopen secondary schools again on Feb. 1 as planned and even to bring a third lockdown that could be even more restrictive than a first in March, 2020.
“We open activities when the cases subside, we limit them when they surge,” Mitsotakis said, reported Kathimerini, although the lockdown on-lockdown off method hadn’t worked as it vacillated in intensity and leniency.
That was seen as a hint, the paper said, that he’s ready to lower the hammer again, with talk it could bring a curfew as early as 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. as is now in place, further cutting off businesses.
Officials are talking so-called “interventions” that will tighten health restrictions including going back to the click-and-collect method of shopping that must be done online first and then pickups at stores and pushing back secondary school openings to Feb. 8.
These “interventions” translate into a possible tightening of rules, which may include the return of click-and-collect in retail or even the one-week postponement of schools reopening.
The government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists said it’s safe for kindergartens and pre-school nurseries to operate as they were allowed to open but decisions are due to be made Jan. 29.