New pandemic measures aim to protect, not divide, Economou says

The aim of the new pandemic measures announced by the government is not to divide but to protect and persuade people to adopt the actions that will protect their health, government spokesperson Yiannis Economou said on Friday.

“In any case, it must be understood by all that the measures we have taken are for their own protection and to avoid transmission. Everyone must abide by them,” he added in statements to Skai television.
Economou repeated that the government’s main strategy was to keep society open and the economy running while reinforcing the health system and taking measures to increase vaccination coverage, both for the first round of vaccination against Covid and for the third booster shots, which for those over 60 will be equivalent to a “Covid Pass”.

In order for those over 60 to enjoy the privileges of vaccination and continue to have access to a number of public spaces and activities, he said, they will have to get the 3rd dose of the vaccine. Otherwise, they will be barred from all but essential activities such as food shopping, outdoor exercise, seeing a doctor or going to church, where they will also need a negative test for Covid.
Economou stressed that checks to ensure compliance with Covid measures will be carried out everywhere and those failing to comply will face the penalties set out by law.

He clarified that no changes will be made in the closing times for entertainment and eating out, given that these were now only open to vaccinated individuals.

Economou announced that there are over 700 beds in the private sector that are available for the national health service, including ICUs for non-covid cases, and that 90 unfilled positions for doctors

in northern Greece will be filled by requisitioning the services of private doctors.
He dismissed the criticism from main opposition SYRIZA, saying that the party had essentially proposed measures that the government has already taken.

Regarding churches, he said the Church itself would be responsible for screening and ensuring that those trying to enter have the necessary certificates, while there will also be random checks by the state.

He also defended the government’s record on public transport, pointing out that there were currently some 400-500 more buses in circulation than there had been before the pandemic and any congestion was only found at rush hour, as in all capital cities. Strict use of masks but also the staggered working hours introduced in the public and private sector would help deal with the problems, he added.