Gov’t spox Petsas: More strict localized lockdowns will come, if necessary

Diligent observance of all coronavirus safety restrictions and measures over the Christmas season is essential, said government spokesperson Stelios Petsas in an interview with SKAI TV on Saturday.

“It is most important to not let our guard down amid the pandemic, and to keep up with standing health protocols,” he stressed, “especially as we are approaching the launch of coronavirus vaccinations.”

The government is unfolding its strategy for running both a vaccination program and parallel safety measures, he noted, in collaboration with health experts, “thus bridging a period of several months in the first half of 2021.”

The most significant attitude that all citizens should pursue over the festive season and in coming months, is to keep a small social circle, he pointed out. Therefore, people should not invite third parties to their homes over the Christmas holidays, that is people outside of their close families. “You can bring over another four people, but these four people should be from within the broader family,” he noted.

He also clarified that there is no current discussion for more lenient curfew hours, and he mentioned the region of Kozani, where tough lockdown restrictions went into effect on Saturday; he also referred to the three municipalities in west Attica region, where the same set of intensified lockdown restrictions was imposed on Friday.

Petsas implied that this strategy of stricter localized lockdowns might be necessary for other areas in the country, where the epidemiological burden is spiking. “It is rather important for us to be on standby to contain local clusters where the coronavirus might disperse rapidly in a short length of time,” he stressed, “while tight restrictions stay in effect until January 7.”

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be vaccinated against the coronavirus before year’s end, he also made known, and that the Premier’s proposal to party leaders is to all be vaccinated together, “so as to make a good example out of it.”

The coronavirus vaccine is not mandatory, he clarified, and will be free of charge. “We will have approval for the vaccine on December 21-22 by European health agencies, and it will arrive in Greece on December 26-27, therefore the Prime Minister will be one of the first few to be inoculated, before the end of the year.”

The plan is to have a very large portion of people in vulnerable groups vaccinated until February-March, Petsas noted.