NEWS

Next week to determine possible rollback on eased restrictions, say experts

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The next five to seven days will determine whether the government will need to roll back on the easing of lockdown restrictions following the spike in coronavirus infections recorded on Tuesday, two of its health advisers said on Wednesday.

In comments to Skai TV, Athens University Professor Athanasios Dimopoulos said that he and other members of the committee of experts advising the government on the Covid-19 crisis are keeping a close eye on the epidemiological data. While they are concerned by Tuesday’s spike, he said, the experts are not overly alarmed, as hospital admissions, intubations and deaths have been inching down in the past few weeks.

“The experts analyze the data over a period of five to seven days. If we see that we have been driven to an increase of cases, preventive measures will have to be taken before we see an impact on hospitals and ICUs,” Dimopoulos said.

His comments come after Greek health authorities reported more than 800 new infections on Tuesday, roughly half of which were in Attica, following an easing of restrictions earlier this month on retail commerce and on the operation of schools. Health authorities are also concerned about the appearance in Greece of a new variant of the novel coronavirus that has been sweeping through Britain and other parts of Europe, as well as an expected rise in the number of influenza cases over February and March.

“We need to keep our eyes peeled,” fellow committee member Charalambos Gogos, an expert in infectious disease, told Antenna television on Wednesday, adding that “nothing can be excluded” in terms of what measures may need to be taken if the numbers start rising again.

Gogos said that the committee will be convening on Friday to examine the data for the past week, which will determine its recommendations to the government ahead of its planned reopening of secondary schools next Monday.