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Our View: We’ve moved from one set of restrictions to another

Υπουργός Υγείας – Συνέντευξη Τύπο
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou laying down the law on Thursday

There seems to be no end to the erosion of our personal liberties by the government in the name of public health protection. While the house arrest that we have all been placed under for months that required state permission to leave our homes will be lifted, new restrictions will be placed on movement.

From Monday people will be free to leave their home whenever they want for as long as they want but will have to be indoors by 11pm. No SMS will be necessary, but for most places we would want to go to such as restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, malls, churches, and some shops, we will require certification  that we have been infected by Covid-19 in the last six months, that we have been vaccinated with at least one dose three weeks earlier or that we have had a negative rapid or PCR test in the last 72 hours, known as the ‘covid pass’ or ‘coronapass’.

In other words, the authorities are setting new restrictions to replace the oppressive SMS system in order to protect public health. This is probably aimed at forcing people, especially those of a younger age, to be vaccinated. Under the circumstances, vaccination would be considered a small price to pay for a young person to be able to go to cafes and bars whenever they choose to. The government could also argue that it was not discriminating against the unvaccinated because a negative rapid test would suffice as a covid pass.

It is, however, setting very specific conditions for allowing people over 12 years of age to go to a restaurant or a café. This is another erosion of personal liberty but the government has calculated there will not be too much public reaction as the new restrictions are presented as the reason for justifying the end of the hated lockdown and ludicrous SMS system. People would welcome the covid pass as liberation from the previous, harsher measures, given that businesses would reopen and everyone would be able to go anywhere.

Announcing the requirement for the covid pass to go to places, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, said “this measure is temporary and will be applied for a transitional period in order to ensure that our travels and social contacts are made as safe as possible for our health and for public health.”

He avoided saying how long this temporary measure would last. He could have said it would be lifted once 70 per cent of the population has been vaccinated but he didn’t, raising suspicions that it would be with us for a very long time. If it is a temporary measure why is the government in the process of establishing a digital app to ultimately administer the covid pass?

We suspect that if there is no strong reaction from people in the immediate future, the government’s temporary measure will be with us for a long time, if not permanently if people and venues get used to it.

 

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