A Crete Medical School expert and the head of the Athens Medical Association both expressed reservations on Tuesday about government plans to start reopening schools as of April 5.
“Schools have been proven to contribute to the pandemic,” Nikolaos Tzanakis, an expert in respiratory disease and vice president of the Hellenic Thoracic Society, told SKAI.
“The structure of schools in Greece does not allow spacing out classes more and we do not have the best building facilities for airing classrooms, so I would recommend a ‘hybrid’ operation of schools in areas with a low viral load, meaning alternately holding some classes remotely and others in schools, and holding off a bit in red zones,” he added.
The professor was also cautious about plans to reopen retail stores starting next week, saying that relaunching retail when new cases are at a rate of around 2,000 to 2,500 a day “has risks.”
“We must open with caution,” he stressed, adding that the reopening of stores would best be carried out in stages, starting with less affected areas, rather than across-the-board.
“Opening schools right now would result in specific processes increasing cases and further pressure on the national health system,” he said.
Regarding the reopening of stores, Patoulis said that the introduction of self-testing kits and more rapid tests will help, “but it all requires very careful steps.”
“People are very tired. The retail sector is exhausted and businesspeople are at an impasse. Vaccination is our only ally,” he added.
Meanwhile, according to a clause included in a draft bill submitted in Parliament on Monday by the Ministry of Education, students will only be allowed to physically attend lessons in classrooms if they have undergone Covid-19 diagnostic tests.