NEWS

Plan to bolster island health structures amid pandemic

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Coronavirus, Tourism

The Health Ministry’s plan this summer to cope with the influx of tourism to the islands and mainland destinations include, Kathimerini understands, the designation of low-, medium- and high-risk areas, depending on access to health infrastructure, as well as securing beds for Covid-19 patients, personal protective equipment, respirators and other necessary equipment.

To date, the islands have had few cases, with only 57 confirmed last Thursday on Crete and the Aegean and Ionian islands.

Nonetheless, many islands are taking the necessary measures to strengthen their health service structures, realizing early on that in order to have a future as a tourist destination in the coronavirus era, they must invest in health.

Low-risk areas are the ones with easy access to integrated health services. These include tourist destinations on the mainland, Crete and areas with access to major hospitals on the mainland within 2 hours.

The medium-risk areas include islands such as Zakynthos, Kos and Samos that have smaller hospitals where beds for Covid-19 patients have already been secured.

High-risk areas include mainly small islands which are not that well connected and have small primary healthcare structures.

The Secretariat for Civil Protection and the National Public Health Organization (EODY) will begin inspections today in remote island areas, starting with Kimolos, Folegandros and Sikinos, to ascertain their needs.

The main problem remains the lack of staff and medicine on such islands. According to the Health Ministry, the Aegean islands have been bolstered with 200 auxiliary personnel, the Ionian islands with 70 and Crete with at least 400.

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