The strong surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, the spike in hard epidemiological indices, and dramatic conditions at hospitals nationwide have fuelled discussion in the government and the media of new public health restrictions.

Many experts have warned that if more restrictions are not implemented now and the epidemiological picture does not improve, then harsher measures will be mandatory before Christmas, which will have a very negative impact on both the critical commercial holiday season and on society.

The government has stressed that any new restrictions will apply only to unvaccinated citizens, although some experts have underlined that certain measures such as social distancing and wearing masks should apply to both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, who can also transmit the disease. Now, over 10 percent of COVID-19 patients in hospital ICUs are vaccinated.

Certain prospective government measures leaked to the press recently have not yet been adopted, such as increasing the required number of square metres per customer at supermarkets, and appear to have been trial balloons.

Now, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis has said that on the one hand the government has not ruled requiring a negative rapid test for entry into supermarkets, but on the other hand concedes that one cannot block citizens who have not taken rapid tests from having access to basic goods.

“Certainly we are examining it [the issue of supermarkets], but there are problems. We discussed it in a meeting at Maximos Mansion [the PM’s office],” Georgiadis said.

“There are some of our fellow citizens who will not take a rapid test, and we cannot deny them access to basic goods,” he underlined, noting that during peak hours checking tests would results in enormous queues at supermarkets and large stores.