NEWS

Emergency plan to fill Omicron gaps

Interior Ministry orders public sector supervisors to draft schemes safeguarding services

emergency-plan-to-fill-omicron-gaps

As the daily coronavirus infection rate soared to a new high Tuesday, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Interior Ministry has ordered public sector administrators to draw up plans of action in case the situation spirals out of control and vital services are deprived of indispensable personnel.

More specifically, it is incumbent on each department supervisor to determine the minimum amount of human resources and specialization needed to ensure its continued operation. The plans should provide for the transfer of employees between services, if the need arises. 

Similar instructions were also issued in the first phase of the pandemic, in March 2020. At the present time, however, the situation is considered to be easier to manage, as the number of quarantine days and sick leave has been reduced to five, while much of the civil service has been vaccinated. 

The deadline for the preparation of an alternative plan for each service, which will be implemented in an emergency, is Wednesday.

At the same time, there are currently about 2,000 national health service workers in quarantine after being infected with the virus. However, health authorities say the situation remains under control. 

The head of the first Health District of Attica, Panagiotis Stathis, told Kathimerini that at the moment the absences of medical and other staff due to Covid-19 range from 1.4% to 2.2% of the total number of employees per unit. “The situation is manageable. The problem is not as acute as it seems,” he said.

“We are keeping a close eye on how the situation is evolving and, if necessary, there will be internal changes with staff being moved between departments or the suspension of surgeries. In the fourth wave, hospitals in Athens did not need to suspend regular surgeries and I do not believe that this will have to be done now,” Stathis added.

Greece set a new daily record for Covid-19 infections Tuesday, registering 50,126 cases. The previous record of 40,560 cases was set on December 31. Health authorities also confirmed 61 deaths. 

Greece’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now 1,344,923, with 21,053 fatalities.

There were also 619 patients intubated in intensive care Tuesday, as hospital admissions rose 3.4% against the day before, to 452.