The Health Ministry on Friday announced deals with five private clinics in Thessaloniki, Larissa and Volos for 296 beds to treat Covid and other patients as public hospitals reach their limits.
The move comes as 3,643 new cases were reported, of which 661 are in Thessaloniki when Attica as a whole – with a population around four times larger – accounted for 599. The smaller cities of Larissa and Volos also fared poorly, with 246 and 148 new cases respectively. Occupancy at intensive care units in Macedonia-Thrace hit nearly 100% on Friday, with 910 Covid patients. The situation is similar in the region of Thessaly, where all 39 ICU Covid beds are occupied.
“The solution is to decrease demand by increasing mandatory vaccination,” the head of intensive care at Thessaloniki’s Papanikolaou Hospital told Skai TV on Friday. “There is no other way, we need vaccination,” he said, echoing concerns about the sluggish take-up of vaccines in recent months.
Responding to such calls for a more assertive stance on mandatory vaccination, Health Minister Thanos Plevris said the issue will be discussed “only if the epidemiological data change and only for categories where it is constitutionally tolerable.”