Greece to reopen Historical sites despite COVID-19 surge

Greece to reopen Historical sites despite COVID-19 surge

Greece Will reopen the Acropolis in Athens and other ancient sites Nationally and provide free weekly rapid tests for COVID-19 for all the country's Inhabitants Because it prepares to restart the tourism season at mid-May

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's government announced plans Friday to reopen the Acropolis in Athens and other ancient sites nationwide and provide free weekly quick tests for COVID-19 for several of the country's residents as it prepares to restart the tourism season in mid-May.

The measures were announced despite a continuous spike in daily infections to 20.9 per 100,000 residents, as a seven-day rolling average, with personal hospital space being used by the state-run health service to cope with treatment demand.

Beginning Saturday, a weekend curfew is going to be relaxed. It will be followed Monday with a series of other steps such as a limited introduction of barbershops and hair salons, and ancient websites for individuals on short excursions. Museums will remain closed.

"What we are speaking about are pressure-release valves. This will be to help people comply with restrictions that have been in effect for such a long time," explained Akis Skertsos, a deputy minister for government coordination.

The reopening of early sites was declared despite strong bookings from an association of state employees at historical sites which warned that"procedures required for secure security protocols have never been done" but did not provide further information.

No cost tests will be made available to all residents of Greece using a social security number before the end of the month, officials said. Medical, nursing, and administrative staff at public hospitals who haven't yet been vaccinated will get mandatory rapid tests twice weekly, according to a Health Ministry order, effective immediately.

The government states that despite the present surge, it expects to open to tourism, an integral driver of the economy, in mid-May.

Lockdown measures are in effect since early November.

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