NEWS

Attica viral load to keep schools closed

attica-viral-load-to-keep-schools-closed

Attica’s increasing viral load is troubling both the government and health authorities, who are looking at ways to stem the new tide.

According to reports, if cases continue to rise, infectious disease experts are considering two scenarios, which will be discussed at their scheduled meeting this afternoon.

The first option is to declare Attica a “red” zone, which effectively means that high schools will not open on Monday and retail will return to click-and-collect mode. 

An alternative option is to freeze any further easing of measures. This case would also entail schools not reopening on Monday, but retail trade would remain as it is. In this scenario the issue of high schools will be reconsidered at the end of next week. 

In Attica alone on Wednesday, 409 new cases were detected, of which 76 were in the northern suburbs, 104 in the center of Athens and 49 in Eastern Attica. Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and the government’s chief medical adviser on infectious diseases, Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, briefed party leaders Wednesday.

In total, 858 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, raising the total number to 154,083. It was the second day in a row that cases rose above 800. Thirty-two more patients died from Covid-19, raising total fatalities to 5,724. The number of intubated patients fell to 274 from 283 on Tuesday. 

With the upward trend of infections in Attica, the low supply rate of vaccines and the shaky economic conditions, the government is struggling to strike a delicate balance to ensure the functioning of markets and the protection of public health. This, however, is no mean feat as the government will find it exceedingly difficult to keep up with the situation and provide aid for the economy, with Deputy Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis noting that “the next 2-3 months are critical.” 

With regard to the vaccination issue, Tsiodras said that based on the vaccines that the country already has and which are expected to come, 10% of the population will have been vaccinated by the end of March. 

This could seriously compromise the initial target of 60% immunity by the summer. However, Kikilias said that given the amount of vaccines Greece has, the rate at which jabs are administered is satisfactory. A total of 17,952 jabs were delivered on Wednesday, bringing the total so far to 213,735.