People wearing masks walks past the decorated entrance of downtown Athens hotel, on Thursday, December 3. [InTime News]
Even though Greece has entered a fourth week of a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the epidemiological burden still remains frustratingly high, with a new record broken on Thursday in the number of intubated patients, while fatalities reached triple digits once again.
There were 622 intubated patients on Thursday afternoon, nine more than the day before, and 26 more than Tuesday. The number of fatalities was 100.
What’s more, the expectations of both scientists and authorities of a reduction in the number of daily cases have not been met, with 1,882 infections recorded on Thursday.
The total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the epidemic is 111,537, with deaths at 2,706.
Against this backdrop, as expected, the government on Thursday announced the extension of lockdown restrictions until December 14. According to government spokesman Stelios Petsas, since the anticipated drop in cases and intubations over the last few days has not materialized, any debate regarding an imminent lifting of restrictions has been rendered moot.
An exception is being made for shops selling Christmas trees and decorations, which can reopen on December 7. The ban on the sale of similar items by supermarkets will also be lifted, after being imposed on November 10 in response to concerns of unfair competition. The ban on the sale of other durables in supermarkets, such as books, clothing, footwear and electronic equipment, will remain in place.
According to experts, the main reasons for the persistence of these figures are the spread of infections within families, the milder restrictive measures that are in force now compared to spring, and the lower temperatures.
“In October we had a very large increase in the virus in the community. When the lockdown started, we stayed at home, with the virus, and it continued to spread within the family,” Nikos Sypsas, an infectious diseases professor at Athens University, told Kathimerini.
The latest available data included in the Covid-19 Observatory report, are also indicative.
In the first fortnight of the second lockdown (November 7-20), the mobility of the population decreased by an average of 34.5% compared to the previous 14 days. Compared to the first 14 days of the first lockdown (March 23 to April 5), mobility is 23.8% higher. At the same time, the number of people staying at home is 9% less compared to the same period in the first lockdown.