dpa/GNA – The Greek government is planning an easing of the country’s strict lockdown, even though coronavirus infection numbers in the country are currently higher than ever.

The assumption is that the strict measures are leading to the increase in cases because they encourage people to stay indoors, where they might get infected, Greek media reported on Thursday.

A decision is therefore to be made on the abolition of various restrictions at Friday’s weekly meeting of the government’s coronavirus crisis task force.

The instruction not to move more than 2 kilometres from the place of residence is the main target of criticism.

“Such bans make the situation worse because they limit the time people spend outside in the fresh air,” Giannis Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University, told Greek TV station Mega on Thursday.

This opinion is shared by many of his Greek colleagues: The restrictions seem to have had the consequence that people have increasingly meet privately in flats, no longer observing simple measures such as the distance rules.

The current U-turn towards relaxations is supported by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“We have to be honest: Everyone is tired,” he told CNN Greece late on Tuesday. “We have practically banned economic activity for the past four to five weeks because we were expecting the third wave, which is now under way.”

This wave would have been worse without measures, but will level off in the next two weeks, he said.

“We have to be smart and let the world get active again without compromising our core strategy in dealing with the virus. That is the balance we want to achieve,” Mitsotakis said.

On Wednesday, the Greek health authority registered 3,465 new infections within 24 hours. The number of patients requiring ventilation rose to 630. Both figures are the highest since the beginning of the pandemic in Greece.

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