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High Schools Reopen in Greece After Five Months

Schools Greece
High schools reopened in Greece on Monday. Credit: AMNA

Greece reopened its high schools on Monday after five months, after authorities made available home-testing kits they hope will help control the pandemic.

Students of lyceums, covering the final three years of schooling, returned to schools, amid stubbornly high Covid-19 infection numbers.

Pupils and teachers must continue to wear masks and undergo at least two coronavirus tests a week (every Monday and Thursday).

Negative Covid-19 test required to attend school

Those who attend school will have to carry proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Testing is obligatory also for those who have been vaccinated against the virus.

Greece began a program of free distribution of Covid-19 antigen self-tests by pharmacies — exclusively to high school students aged 16-18 and teachers — last week.

The test is given upon presentation of a valid AMKA social security number and, together with the self test kit, recipients are given written instructions on the correct taking of the sample.

The registration of self tests per AMKA is done in real time to avoid the phenomenon of multiple tests being handed out by different pharmacies to the same person.

Self tests are rapidly detectable nasal-swab tests (using a nasal instead of nasopharyngeal / oral pharyngeal sample), performed at home and do not require the supervision of a health professional.

Authorities clarified that the individual self tests are designed for healthy and asymptomatic individuals.

For those with symptoms of infection, i.e., a fever, cough or other symptoms, a negative test must always also be confirmed by performing a molecular test.

This means that self-tests must be carried out even if there are no symptoms of COVID-19, since one in three carriers of the virus is asymptomatic.

Stubbornly high Covid-19 infection numbers in Greece

Greece has been under lockdown-type restrictions since early November. Only special education schools have remained open since then.

On Sunday, Greek health authorities announced 1,718 new cases of the coronavirus for the 24-hour period ending at 3 p.m., as well as 52 deaths.

However, the relatively low number of cases was due mainly to the fewer tests conducted — 28,887 — versus a weekly average of 51,040. There were 780 patients on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 295,480 confirmed coronavirus cases, including all those who have recovered from the virus, with 8,885 fatalities.

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