Greece cannot prevent a new Covid lockdown — which should come sooner rather than later — a Greek expert at the University of Thessaloniki warned on Wednesday.
Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, a professor of Environmental Engineering at Aristotle University said that based on data from Greece and abroad, the country cannot avoid a universal lockdown mainly because of the spread of the Omicron strain.
Speaking to Greece’s ERT3 radio station, he said that all evidence suggests that the problem created by Omicron will “come very quickly and will be very big.
“If there is a universal lockdown from January 3, it will last a month,” Sarigiannis estimated. He stressed that if authorities wait until January 16 to impose a lockdown, then Greece will have to shut down till March.
Sarigiannis estimates that by January 1, “the Omicron mutation will represent more than 50 percent of the cases in our country.”
The government has ruled out a lockdown
The Greek government has stated that there are no plans for a general lockdown following the recent spike on Covid cases and deaths.
“There is neither going to be a lockdown nor will the ESY (national healthcare system) collapse,” government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou told journalists recently, responding to accusations from the main opposition that more measures are needed ahead of the holiday season.
Greece offers two free Covid self-tests for holidays
However, ministers have left open the possibility to impose new measures, short of a universal lockdown, to stem the spread of the virus.
Greece will offer two free Covid-19 self-tests to all Greeks over the holidays to help curb the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday.
Mitsotakis decided on the measure after health officials recommended that he make a negative rapid test mandatory for entrance to enclosed spaces such as non-essential stores, restaurants, and cafes, which are currently accessible only by those who have been vaccinated.
The PM stated that he “rejected” the proposal, as he believes “that such a measure would be unfair for the vaccinated and, in the end, very difficult to implement.
“So instead of imposing something on everyone, I chose to trust everyone. And for this very purpose, the state will provide two more free self-tests for the entire population,” he added.
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