COVID MEASURES

Covid restrictions seen extended to the end of January

Covid restrictions seen extended to the end of January

With pressure on the public health system persisting despite a gradual easing in coronavirus case numbers, authorities are seen extending a series of restrictions on leisure and capacity ratios until the end of the month.

Greece’s committee of public health experts, which is convening on Wednesday to discuss the way forward, is expected to recommend an extension of earlier closing times and stricter health protocols by one week, from January 23 to January 31. 

Health Minister Thanos Plevris indicated as much in comments to state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday, saying that while the government is waiting for the committee’s recommendations, an extension until the end of the month “seems reasonable.”

Commenting on the high morbidity rate among Covid-19 patients at Greece’s hospitals, Plevris attributed the trend to a peak in the Delta variant over the holidays.

The high death rate was also the subject of comments by West Attica University microbiologist Alkiviadis Vatopoulos, who told Skai TV that experts are investigating the causes of the phenomenon.

He added that long-term strain on the public health system and patient hesitancy to seek treatment before their condition deteriorates significantly may provide part of the explanation.

“One useful message is that they should seek medical help when they become ill,” he said, encouraging people infected with Covid-19 to monitor their blood oxygen levels and to reach out to their doctor as soon as they feel unwell.

In its daily bulletin on Tuesday, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported 23,340 new coronavirus cases from some 568,500 tests, putting the positivity rate at 4.1%, which is an improvement from last Tuesday’s 5.6%.

However, EODY also reported 106 Covid-related deaths, a rise from the seven-day average of 87 fatalities, which was also higher from the seven-day average the week before of 72.

Pressure on intensive care units was also significant with 673 patients on ventilators, while hospital admissions came to 475, according to Tuesday’s bulletin.