The improved epidemiological picture “allows us to proceed to the next phase of de-escalation of restrictive measures, which was determined by a group of experts from various ministries involved, based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee and takes into account a combination of social, psychological and economic factors.” said the Minister of Health Konstantinos Ioannou, in his statements to KYPE.
Answering a question about the second phase of the de-escalation of restrictive measures, from Monday, February 8, the Minister of Health said that the unlocking of the retail trade, the increase to 50% of the employees in the service sector and the return of the number of students to schools from Monday is an important step.
“We want this step to be as careful and controlled as possible. The epidemiological picture is clearly improved but the risk remains. As we have noted many times, the mutated strain of the virus and the increased viral load are facts that do not allow us to be complacent. This is our response to the calls for wider opening of businesses and those related to social activity “, he added.
In the rest of Europe, he said, they are returning to new lockdowns and bans on all kinds of social activity remain.
“We want to avoid this development, so I repeat the call to the citizens, employers and employees, by returning to work to follow the protocols and be very careful, not to reach a point where we will not have another option from the reinstatement of restrictive measures. “It's something we are avoiding,” he said.
The Minister of Health reiterated that with the gradual unlocking “we expect an increase in cases, and for this reason the de-escalation plan is based on the triptych control (with rapid test), implementation and observance of protocols and vaccinations”.
“As you can see, the strategy of the large number of rapid tests is proving to be extremely effective and we will continue it at an intensive pace. It is very important that the return to the workplace is done in safe conditions, in order to preserve the good epidemiological picture. The faithful observance of the health protocols and the measures that have been decided, is crucial hence and all the competent ministries will take care of the supervision of the implementation of the measures “, he added.
Asked about the importance of vaccinations, the Minister of Health said that the data on the vaccination front is encouraging, “which is the third pillar of our strategy”.
“The increased flow of vaccines that we expect, after the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, will allow us to proceed with our vaccination program at a faster pace. We have completed the vaccinations in the nursing homes and based on the expected quantities, our goal is to complete the vaccination of health professionals and people over 75 years of age by the end of February and to follow the vaccination of vulnerable groups, based on the hierarchy that will be done by “recommendation of the special scientific committee”, he pointed out.
Concluding, the Minister of Health said that by shielding “those of our fellow human beings who are most exposed to danger, we will then be able to cover the rest of the population with greater comfort.”
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