Health Minister Thanos Plevris and his deputy Mina Gaga – a medical doctor who is also the president of the European Respiratory Society – are traveling to Thessaloniki on Wednesday for an emergency meeting with local officials to address a spike in Covid-19 cases in the port city and other parts of the Macedonia-Thrace region.
Health authorities are also alarmed by the low full vaccination coverage, which is below 50% in the region overall and just over 51% in Thessaloniki. Official data, meanwhile, showed that all 54 people who died in the area’s Covid hospitals over the past week had not been vaccinated.
According to the fourth health district directorate for Macedonia-Thrace, 53 Covid-19 patients are currently in intensive care and of them 51 (or 96.2%) are unvaccinated. There are also 258 coronavirus patients in regular hospital care, of which 202 are unvaccinated, a ratio of 81.5%.
Thessaloniki Mayor Konstantinos Zervos, who will be one of the officials at Wednesday’s meeting, said in comments on Monday that new cases have risen by as much as 15% in the past few days after showing signs of easing last week. He also indicated that the continued return of holidaymakers and public protest rallies held during the Thessaloniki International Fair last week may push cases even higher.
His warnings were echoed by the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), which reported 2,126 new cases nationwide in its daily bulletin on Monday, with Thessaloniki accounting for 341 of those cases, compared with 369 in Attica, with a much larger population. Last Monday, the number of new cases in Thessaloniki came to 228.