In a bid to persuade people in areas epidemiologically characterised as high-risk red zones, which as a rule have very low vaccination rates, to get the COVID-19 jab, Health Minister Thanos Plevris today announced that there will no longer be lockdowns in red zones and that vaccinated residents in those area will not be subjected to greater restrictions than in areas that have a good epidemiological profile.
Plevris expressed absolute trust in the National Committee on COVID-19 which gave the government the general directions that led to today’s announcements and said that the measures will be further detailed and streamlined so that it will be perfectly clear to citizens and businesses what applies to them.
Measures today will initially be in effect for 15 days, after which they will be reviewd by the Committee, detailed, and streamlined
Red areas now and in the future will not have special measures, if the committee changes its view that will change
The challenge of Northern Greece
As areas in northern Greece have been placed in the red high-danger zone, Plevris said that there and in other areas that are characterised as red in the future that will not lead to local lockdowns or additional restrictive measures.
The Committee approved the lifting of all restriction on the movement of citizens as well as the ban on music at restaurants and bars in red zones.
In red regions, the government will implement precisely the same measures as in all other areas.
They include forbidding the entry of unvaccinated citizens into indoor restaurants and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 rapid test wherever that is requested.
Vaccination push in low vaccination rate areas
Plevris also announced that the government will launch a campaign to persuade people in areas with an especially low vaccination rate (some are around 40 percent, particularly in Northern Greece) to get the jab.
Indeed, the further laxening of measures for vaccinated people even in red zones is clearly designed to act as a further incentive for the unvaccinated to get the jab.
The minister stressed that in areas that have a lower rate of vaccination have a significantly larger number of new COVID-19 cases, fewer people fall seriously ill, and fewer need to be placed in hospital ICUs.
Plevris said that the government is also taking measures to bolster the National Health System but did not specify them.
He stressed that there will be full freedom for the vaccinated in entertainment venues and that the same applies to restaurants that serve only vaccinated people.
He noted that at restaurants and bars that serve both vaccinated and unvaccinated people current measures will remain in place.
He also underlined the importance of the continued enforcement of hygiene measures such as the use of antiseptics, and masks where required.