Greece Wednesday banned music in bars and restaurants in a bid to limit New Year's Eve parties as part of new measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
"Omicron is now the dominant strain and the public health system is under pressure," Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in a televised address.
From Thursday and until January 16, "restaurants and entertainment venues will only be able to host tables of six people and music will be banned," he said.
"Bars and restaurants will close at midnight, but will be authorised to stay open until 2 am on December 31 -- still without music," he added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Greece has been forced to implement the measures earlier than expected after the country on Tuesday announced a new record of 21,657 daily Covid-19 infections.
As part of the new restrictions, initially planned for January 3, 50 percent of employees in the public and private sectors should work from home, up from 20 percent previously.
Catering staff and people who want to go grocery shopping or take public transport must wear either a FFP2 face mask or two medical masks one on top of the other.
All public New Year's Eve events have been cancelled, and the minister urged Greeks to test for Covid before any necessary family gatherings.
Greece has recorded 1,105,885 coronavirus cases and 20,557 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.On December 14, the country said a record 130 people had died of Covid in 24 hours, but that daily figure has since dropped below 100.