Experts warn of local lockdowns as delta variant spreads


Two health experts on Friday warned that local lockdowns may be imposed over the course of the summer in areas with low vaccination coverage that experience a spike in cases amid efforts to contain the spread of a much more contagious strain of the novel coronavirus.

“The international community is on alert and there are worries because the Delta variant is 50-60% more contagious than the previous one, the Alpha, or British variant, that had prevailed in this country. The models show that by mid-August it will be the dominant strain in Europe and here,” the president of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), Panagiotis Arkoumaneas told Skai television.

Parts of the country with low take-up of the coronavirus vaccines are likely “to have a problem,” he warned, saying that local lockdowns will be considered to contain outbreaks.

“It is wrong to have the option and not get vaccinated,” the health official added.

On a similar note, University of Crete lung specialist Nikolaos Tzanakis estimated that the Delta variant has already spread in many parts of the country and agreed that it will probably grow into the dominant strain by August.

He added that entire areas may have to be put on lockdown in the event of sizeable outbreaks featuring this strain.

Asked by Skai TV to comment on the 15 confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Crete, Tzanakis said that they all concerned patients who have not been vaccinated.