The number of intubated patients with Covid-19 will have to drop to double digits before authorities can decide to reopen the market, Athanasios Exadaktylos, president of the Panhellenic Medical Association and a member of the Health Ministry’s committee of experts, said on Thursday.
“We cannot talk about opening the market with this number of cases and intubations. To lift the lockdown, the number of intubated patients must be in double digits,” he told private broadcaster Skai on Thursday morning.
His comments came as the government is considering the timing for the partial reopening of the economy ahead of the Christmas holiday, in a bid to boost the market.
Exadaktylos warned that if the restrictions are lifted early, the second wave of the pandemic may swell and intubations could easily reach 900.
“From 95 [intubations] on October 25, we reached 600 on November 27-28, in just a few weeks, which is the point of alarm. If we take an premature step, what will happen is that we will have a relapse of the second wave, which will swell even more,” he said.
“We are at the point where there will be a surge [of intubations], because if the 600 become 900, which is no longer unlikely, our capacity will be exceeded.”
On his side, Nikos Sypsas, an infectious diseases professor at the Athens School of Medicine and a member of the government’s expert committee, added that nightlife is a “super spreader of the virus” and will be slow to reopen.
“Only absolutely necessary sectors should be reopened and only if the epidemiological conditions and especially the health system allow it,” he warned.
On Wednesday, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) said that the number of intubated patients rose to 613 from 596 on Tuesday, while 89 more patients died from Covid-19, raising the total number of fatalities to 2,606.
The debate comes as Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis announced that he is mulling the opening of stores selling seasonal items which cannot wait after the holidays.