CORONAVIRUS

Health system under renewed pressure

Experts alarmed by surge in Covid cases, hospital admissions, especially in northern Greece

health-system-under-renewed-pressure

The increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across Greece, which last week exceeded a daily average of 3,500, has again placed the country’s infectious disease experts on high alert. Northern Greece, in particular, is a source of growing concern as hospital admissions are increasing rapidly and ICU units are under intense pressure.

According to the director of the Papanikolaou Hospital’s Covid Clinic in Thessaloniki, Diamantis Chloros, last Friday, 30 unvaccinated citizens were being treated in the intensive care units, while the situation is deteriorating by the day.

“No one is doing their duty, neither the unvaccinated, nor the vaccinated, nor the state,” Chloros rued in comments to ANT1.

For his part, Dimosthenis Sariyiannis, professor of environmental engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, said he favors a door-to-door campaign to inform people on the necessity of vaccination. 

“We do not need to be afraid when we reach 10,000 cases a day. If we get there there is no doubt that we will be vaccinated,” he said and sounded the alarm that cases could soon rise to more than 5,000 a day. 

But this sense of concern is no less palpable among experts in Athens. Athens University professor of epidemiology Athena Linou expressed agreement with a door-to-door information campaign about vaccination, emphasizing that it should also target groups that hitherto have not been adequately approached, such as the Roma community.

At the same time, Athens University Rector Thanos Dimopoulos stressed that the coronavirus has spread relentlessly in areas where there is low vaccination coverage, while insisting that protection measures must be strictly observed. “Obviously the only solution we have to manage the pandemic is vaccination. We see that in whichever regions of Greece the vaccination coverage is lower, we have a high number of hospitalizations. We must not abandon the use of masks, the observance of distances and the good washing of the hands,” he stressed.

The director of the Papanikolaou Intensive Care Unit, Nikos Kapravelos, painted a dire picture concerning occupancy rates in hospitals in northern Greece.

“We are in the middle of a difficult situation regarding the pandemic,” he told Skai TV, adding, “Either we will all be vaccinated together or we will experience tragedies.”