Petsas: Levels of Covid-19 in Greece still putting great pressure on health system

The second wave of the novel coronavirus is still raging in Europe, forcing even the wealthiest countries to extend and enhance restrictions, and this is equally true for Greece, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said during an online press briefing on Monday. He highlighted the fact that Germany, which had coped better than most of its neighbours in spring, was now forced to order another general lockdown until January 10.

“This fact sounds a very loud alarm for all of us,” Petsas said, adding that Greece’s national health system was still under immense pressure, especially its ICUs which on Sunday had 552 patients on ventilators.

“The government made protection of public health and human life the top priority from the first moment. On this basis, it has decided to extend the restrictions imposed in the framework of the lockdown until January 7, so that all the citizens together and with faith in our strength, we can get through these different holidays with safety,” he said.

Petsas said that the suspension for retail stores will continue, barring the click away method and bookshops and the reopening of beauty salons and vehicle safety testing centres (KTEO). Citizens will still be required to send an SMS to 13033 or use alternatives to justify their movements when visiting these, he stressed.

The spokesperson also announced the government’s decision to allow the opening of nail bars, in light of evidence that there was extensive ‘black labour’ with visits to customer’s homes in this sector. Given this, he said, it was preferable that they operate openly in a more controlled environment, abiding by health safety measures and protocols.

Regarding gatherings around Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, he said the advice is to avoid crowding and repeated that gatherings in the home must be restricted to a maximum of nine people from two families, while the curfew from 22:00 to 5:00 will continue to apply.