Greece rolls out free self-testing kits for COVID-19

Kits for self-administered coronavirus tests have begun arriving in Greek pharmacies, with each resident entitled to one per week as part of efforts to tackle a surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations

Greece has been under lockdown-type restrictions since early November and schools have been shut for most of the time since then, although they briefly reopened for a few weeks earlier this year. Only special education schools have remained open throughout.

Authorities have been debating reopening schools, particularly for the final grades of high school, where students are preparing for university entrance exams. Health officials have said students who do not carry out the self-test and have a declaration signed by their parents confirming a negative result will not be allowed to attend classes.

Anyone testing positive will have to declare it on a government website and will have to undergo a repeat PCR test.

Despite the surge, retail stores in most of the country re-opened on Monday on an appointment-only basis. Cafes, restaurants and bars remain shut and are allowed to operate on a take-away or delivery basis only, while a 9pm to 5am curfew remains in place and people are allowed to leave home only for specific reasons and after sending a text message to authorities or carrying a self-declaration form. Masks are compulsory in all public indoor and outdoor areas.

But after five months of restrictions, many are openly flouted and crowds outside cafes and bars serving drinks in plastic cups have become common in the evenings.


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