NEWS

Lockdown extension should be longer, doctors say

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Reacting to the government's extension of the lockdown until December 7, some doctors say it is not enough.

Athanassios Exadactylos, president of the Panhellenic Medical Association, said the lockdown ought to be extended by two weeks, adding that he doesn't see a drop in cases but a stabilization at high levels.

“When we have 596 patients in intensive care units and a relaxation of measures brings in another 100…we will give up. The health system has a limited number of available spaces.”

Exadactylos said a relaxation should happen when new daily cases drop below 1,000 and the number of patients in intensive care also drops to a “safe” level, for the system.

Matina Pagoni, president of the Association of Athens-Piraeus hospital doctors, said that the week of December 7-14 will be crucial.

Another scientist, Professor of Microbiology Alkiviadis Vatopoulos, told Skai TV Thursday that the lockdown could be lifted in stages, depending on geographical area and on activity.

Vatopoulos added that schools should open first, then retail and restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs last.

Regarding travel inside the country, he said the scientific committee that advises the government has not decided yet but that it was traveling people that spread cases around the country. And while cases appear to be dropping in Athens and Thessaloniki, the hardest hit areas, this is not happening in the rest of the country.

“The pressure on intensive care units must abate” before the lockdown is relaxed, Vatopoulos said. “The infection rate is dropping, but the crucial (factor) is the (capacity of) the health system,” he added.