COVID19: Measures may tighten under cases spike

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The government is reviewing coronavirus measures under pressure from a spike in new cases with the introduction of self-testing while tightening restrictions on social gatherings is not ruled out.

Daily cases are at their highest level since August, with COVID-19 patients in hospital ICUs also rising.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said: “All scenarios are on the table”.

The minister said that if epidemiological data worsens, tighter measures could be decided during a cabinet meeting next week.

Scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak have been pushing for more measures, although coming out against a lockdown for the unvaccinated as in Austria.

They want to keep the economy and society open, especially ahead of the festive Christmas season, urging the government to develop an action plan if cases continue to rise.

One of the measures scientists are proposing is the introduction of self-test kits, which the public can use.

If they test positive for the virus with a home kit, which is less reliable than rapid or PCR testing, they will be eligible for a free PCR test.

This will be applicable for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Furthermore, scientists are suggesting that more rapid tests are carried out at schools, as it was found by the Trace and Tracking Unit; the increased number of testing in Secondary Education has contributed to the smoother operation of schools.

Meanwhile, experts have come out against a lockdown targeting exclusively the unvaccinated, where the unvaccinated are barred from social activities and venues.

“No one wants to talk about new measures that will divide people into different categories, least of all, us,” said Dr Peter Karayiannis, a virologist and government advisor.

In comments to Kathimerini daily, Karayiannis said: “Imposing a lockdown on the unvaccinated is out of the question.

“We need their cooperation to get out of the quagmire, not to marginalize them, pushing them to revolt.”

He said everyone should observe mask-wearing, washing hands and keeping to social distancing.

Hadjipantelas and government scientists agreed to meet every Monday to evaluate epidemiological data and discuss additional measures.