Heavy snow forces a day-long halt to vaccine program in Greece

Athens, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Greek health authorities on Tuesday suspended the vaccine rollout in the Attica region, which includes the capital Athens, due to persistent adverse weather blown in by a cold front.

The conservative government of prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had initially halted the program until 10.30 am but later scrapped the rollout for all of Tuesday.

Ahead of the cold snap, authorities outlined a contingency plan to clear snow from health centers and ready firefighting services to transport patients to vaccine centers but the focus lay mainly on rural zones rather than Athens city.

All workers in Attica were asked not to leave home before 10.00 am as traffic was brought to a standstill due to heavy snow.

Emergency services have received non-stop calls from drivers stranded on snowy roads, often due to not using snow chains, which are mandatory in all Athens suburbs and even some parts of the city center.

The snow storm has also caused two fatalities; a 56-year-old shepherd on the island of Crete who became trapped by snow while trying to reach his flock and had died by the time rescuers had arrived, while another man, in his 80s, died at his home in a remote village on the island of Evia, where some municipalities have been without electricity and running water for three days. EFE


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