Greece’s health minister on Tuesday said he expects the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in December under an EU deal for some three million doses overall.

“If all goes well, Greece will receive its agreed share in seven deliveries…we will start with 700,000 doses in December,” Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias told SKAI TV.

The deliveries will be made monthly between December and June, he said.

The European Commission on August 14 said it had reached a first agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca “to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19 as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or re-direct to other European countries.”

It said “once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective” it would purchase 300 million doses with an “option to purchase 100 million more on behalf of EU Member States.”

Greece has a relatively low infection and mortality rate compared to other EU states, but the spread of the virus has shot up alarmingly this month.

There are over 7,200 cases, including some 2,800 in August, and 230 people have died of the virus in Greece.

Authorities have blamed the spike in infections to the flouting of social distancing rules in restaurants, bars and public gatherings.

The civil protection agency has imposed night curfews for eateries and clubs in over a dozen parts of the country, including some of Greece’s leading tourist destinations.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has warned that “more drastic measures that will doubtlessly have economic repercussions” would be taken if the spread of the virus is not halted.

AFP

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