NEWS

Trying to tame the fourth Covid wave

Gov’t ready to revert to last winter’s restrictions on entertainment if present trends continue

trying-to-tame-the-fourth-covid-wave

Ending the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be crucial for the economy in the coming months, with the government making the smooth functioning of markets a top priority. 

As a result, and although new, stricter measures just came into force on Saturday, officials are already considering a Plan B in case coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Essentially, the government has decided, when and if deemed necessary, to rely on the same mix of measures that it used last year: to strengthen the national health system and curb entertainment. 

Strengthening the health system would involve limiting and postponing surgeries to reserve more beds for Covid-19 patients; to have private clinics deal with non-Covid cases; and to invite doctors in private practice to offer their services to the public system and, if the response is not sufficient, to requisition them.

Regarding dining and entertainment, the Plan B calls for a prohibition on standing in entertainment venues, a ban on music and restrictions in the opening hours of restaurants and bars to avoid late-night crowds. These measures would apply to red-coded areas with a high Covid incidence.

Kathimerini understands that, given the rising trend in cases, some of these measures could be implemented this month.

When and if Plan B will be implemented will rely largely on how trends will develop this week, not only in the number of cases but also that of hospitalizations and intubations. The optimists foresee a flattening of the rising curves, starting this week. But there is also a pessimistic scenario that this wave of the pandemic will peak at the end of November, making December a very challenging month.

On the plus side, vaccination appointments have been on the rise recently for both first doses and boosters. Also, in addition to the vaccinated, those who get sick and survive contribute to the so-called wall of immunity, creating hope that the fourth wave of the pandemic will not last as long or be as intense as the one last winter.

At the same time, the government does not want any plans for restrictions to choke off recovery or threaten enterprises already buffeted by global trends. A prime example is state power company PPC, which can afford to absorb almost all rising energy costs because of its recently achieved financial health.