Italy and Greece are easing COVID-19 measures, but more cautiously

At the beginning of the tourist season, Greece and Italy announced that they would ease health requirements, but the removal of COVID-19 restrictions will not be so quick and ubiquitous.

As of May 1, the requirement for the presentation of a COVID-19 certificate for access to open and closed places has been dropped in Greece and the work in public places will be restored to 100%, the Ministry of Health announced. It will not be necessary to present a document for vaccination, illness, and testing at the border crossings. It will not be necessary to fill in the residence address form (PLF). However, wearing protective masks indoors remains.

Unvaccinated workers will need to have one rapid antigen test instead of two per week. Exceptions are hospitals and nursing homes, where unvaccinated workers will have to undergo two rapid tests a week.

The abolition of the obligation for an indoor mask is by no means certain, Kathimerini writes. Although it was initially assumed that the obligation to carry them in some enclosed spaces would be removed from June 1, Health Minister Thanos Pleuris left open the possibility that this would not happen. He said that the masks will remain in May, and in a month it will be decided how to act depending on the epidemiological situation.

New cases of coronavirus infection in Greece are on the rise again, with 7,463 reported on Friday, despite high levels of vaccination (73% fully vaccinated and 56.7% booster).

“Wearing a mask is a protective measure that does not interfere with social and economic life,” Pleurisy said in an interview with Sky TV.

The measures will be reviewed again on September 1st, with the minister saying dropping them is a temporary suspension, not a permanent one.

Without a certificate, but with a mask in Italy

Face masks will remain mandatory in Italy on public transport and in some indoor areas until June 15, the health minister said on Thursday, postponing the end of pandemic restrictions.

Masks will be needed to visit cinemas, theaters, indoor events and enter hospitals, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, adding that the government intends to be cautious in removing other measures.
“We have decided to keep them in place for a while, at least until June 15, an element of caution that I believe is necessary,” Speranza was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The government has announced that as of May 1, health certificates proving vaccination or recent recovery from coronavirus will no longer be needed to visit restaurants, and gyms and use public transport.

About 84% of Italians have received the recommended two doses of vaccine, and over 65% of people also have a booster.

In Turkey, the measures remain

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey is ready to lift all measures against the coronavirus, adding that wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory indoors.

Speaking after the last meeting of the advisory scientific council, Erdogan said masks should still be worn on public transport and in hospitals until the daily number of new cases falls below 1,000. Newly infected fell to 3,000 a day from 15,000 at the end of March.

Turkey has already abolished the requirement to wear masks outdoors and indoors with good ventilation.

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