After several months of strict coronavirus restrictions, Greece is planning to lift certain measures, inspire of a surge in infections.
Currently, the country has recorded 267,172 cases in total with 8,160 dead, while in the past 24 hours health authorities announced another 3,491 new cases of coronavirus and 67 Covid-19 relaled fatalities.
Greece recorded a new record of daily cases last Wednesday with 4,340 community transmissions a day.
As a result, more public hospitals are becoming Covid-19-only facilities.
Despite hospitals and health staff being severely strained with 755 patients in ICU, Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias announced earlier this week that retail shops (with the exception of department stores and malls) will be allowed to reopen as of next Monday, 5 April.
“We know there is fatigue and tiredness. We are talking about small breathers for society,” Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said.
At the same time people will be allowed to drive to places outside their home municipalities for exercise as of Saturday, an activity that will only be allowed on weekends for the time being. Moreover, group exercise can only be conducted within the same family unit or at a maximum of three people keeping coronavirus precautions. Violations of the rules are punishable by 300-euro ($350) fines.
Meanwhile, the wider Attica region is scheduled to receive the first do-it-yourself Covid-19 tests, according to local newspaper Kathimerini.
Citizens will have access to four kits a month, one per each week.
The self-kits provided by Roche and a Chinese firm not yet known to public are reportedly 95-99 per cent accurate and instructions will be explained in a public government-released video.
Finally, as restrictions are being slowly lifted, Greece has announced financial aid boost to restaurants and bars that have been under lockdown for months.
The overall package will reach about 330 million euros ($390 million), with each business receiving a grant of up to 100,000 euros subject to specific criteria.
“Our goal is clear… to reopen your businesses as comfortably as possible,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a meeting with ministers and sector representatives.