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Coronavirus latest: Greece hopes to have vaccine by December

Greece's health minister said on Tuesday he hoped to receive a first batch of COVID-19 vaccines by December, due to an agreement between the EU and the pharmaceutical industry.

"If all goes well, Greece will receive its planned share in seven shipments [...]We will start in December with 700,000 doses", Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias told SKAI TV.

Deliveries will run from December to June, he added.

The European Commission announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca. The deal will allow the EU " to acquire a potential vaccine against COVID-19," and donate it to low and middle-income countries or to redirect it towards other European countries ".

The Commission said that "once the vaccine proves to be safe and effective" it will purchase 300 million doses of it, with an "option to purchase 100 million more".

Cases in Greece have skyrocketed lately

Greece has a relatively low COVID-19 infection and death rate compared to other EU countries, but the spread of the coronavirus has skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The country has recorded more than 7,200 cases in total, including some 2,800 in August alone. 230 people have died from COVID-19 in Greece.

Authorities say the surge in cases is due to non-compliance with distancing rules in restaurants, bars and public gatherings.

Civil protection has ordered nightly closures of restaurants and nightclubs in more than a dozen regions, including some of the country's top tourist spots.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has warned that "more radical measures, which will undoubtedly have economic repercussions", will be put in place if the spread of the virus continues.

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