Greece to return to pre-pandemic normality from September, estimates Themistocleous

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The Secretary General of Primary Health Care Marios Themistocleous spoke about developments on the pandemic in Greece and how we will proceed towards Easter and summer, and even gave insight into COVID-19's omicron strain.

"We have decompression in the health system and we expect a gradual relaxation of the measures that have already begun," Themistocleous told MEGA.

"There will be expert suggestions," he said, adding: "We have a good rate of vaccination coverage and a lot of people who are sick."

Speaking about the summer, he said "with Omicron and the vaccination coverage rate, I'm optimistic that we will get back to normal."

Marios Themistocleous Archives — Greek City Times

He did say though that "indoor masks will be one of the last things to go away."

"Omicron has changed things for the better," Themistocleous explained.

READ MORE: Greece experiences significant drop in virus cases.

"Someone who is not vaccinated now cannot enter indoor restaurant indoors and this will be one of the last things to stop, but we are far from it," he clarified.

"We will definitely be very close to our normality by the summer," the health expert revealed.

"The pandemic is not over, it will not disappear with a magic wand, but with the evolution of Omicron, unless we have another mutation, then we will be very close to our normal daily life from September,"  Themistocleous said.

"My prediction is that in the summer we will be very close to a normality," he noted while also stressing that at the moment no issue has been raised for a mandatory fourth dose of vaccine.

READ MORE: Greece ordering protein based Novavax vaccine.

18,094 new infections were recorded in Greece on Monday, with 56 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) said on Monday.

Since the pandemic began, Greece has confirmed 2,317,014 infections (daily change: +0.8 pct).

In the confirmed cases of the last 7 days, 288 infections are related to travel from abroad and 2,024 to other confirmed cases.

There are also 88 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 25,417.

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Of these, 95 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.

A total of 460 patients are on ventilators in hospitals.

Their median age is 67 years and 87.4 pct have an underlying condition and/or are aged 70 or over.

Of the total, 339 (73.7 pct) are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and 121 (26.3 pct) are fully vaccinated.

Another 4,217 have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began.

In addition, 301 new patients with the virus were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours (daily change: -8.51 pct).

The average daily admission of patients with the virus to hospitals over the last seven days was 361.

The median age of new infections is 35 years (range: 0.2 to 106 years), while the median age of the deceased is 79 (range: 0.2 to 106 years).

READ MORE: Travelling to Greece? Updated rules just released (March 7th 2022)

Meanwhile, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) in a letter to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and other government officials, called on the government to revise its health protocols and facilitate travel ahead of the tourism season.

This, they argue, will ensure Greece keeps its competitive edge over other Mediterranean vacation hotspots.

Specifically, SETE requests the removal of the PLF (Passenger Locator Form) requirement for travelers with a valid COVID-19 Digital Certificate as of April 1 and the same validity period for certificates in Greece and abroad.

This is in addition to their request for travelers staying at Airbnb-style accommodation and found to be infected to be quarantined at the rental and not at a quarantine hotel.

“The pandemic developments today and the prevailing conditions have nullified the purpose for which the measure was introduced – under current rules there is no longer any reason to ‘locate’ travelers,” SETE said in its letter.

READ MORE: Lipsi in ten top alternative destinations.