Greece leading the vaccine testing race in Europe; Omicron severity dying out

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Greece is leading the race for mass vaccine testing amongst EU states said the country's Health Minister yesterday in reference to both PCR and rapid tests.

"Our country is in the first places of the EU countries in conducting mass tests, while the government has ensured from early on free self-tests to all citizens and at the same time has evaluated both PCR and rapid tests.

"Thanks to this policy, we have a complete record of the epidemiological picture in our country, ensuring citizens free tests in public health structures and affordable prices in private structures," said Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

In a rebuke to political opponents and critics, Plevris  noted that "those who envision massive free PCR in private diagnostic centres are unaware there is no infrastructure to support them, so those voices are simply engaging in cheap populism or, even worse, aiming to promote specific private interests."

Meanwhile, Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization's emergency services, announced that the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic may end in 2022, but warned that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will not go away.

Speaking to reporters online from Geneva, Ryan also said it was too early to draw conclusions about the severity of the Omicron variant as this could only be achieved after the variation has spread widely to older people.