NEWS

Authorities’ dilemma over hard lockdown

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Although daily infections in Greece reached quadruple digits for the second consecutive day Wednesday and the viral load spiked by up to 50% in Attica, the government appeared to be in no haste to take new measures as requested by a number of health experts.

Kathimerini understands that reason is linked to the analysis of the qualitative data and mainly the resilience so far of the National Health System (ESY).

Despite the increase in cases, which in some instances have reached the same levels as in November, there has been no corresponding increase in intubations and hospitalizations to the degree registered in the final two months of 2020.

These facts have been seen as instrumental, for the time being, in the government’s decision not to move ahead with new measures.

One of the interpretations, an optimistic one, given by experts of this current state of affairs is that the virus is not as aggressive at this stage as it was in November and December. In the case of Attica, infectious disease specialist Sotiris Tsiodras stated on Wenesday that the data show the epidemiological burden is similar to November.

Another interpretation, which merits serious attention, is that the full impact of the rise in cases has yet to be seen and that hospital admissions may soon start to spike.

This is viewed as the main reason why the government has not ruled that an intervention could take place at any moment, as both Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis have noted.

The number of cases Thursday could prove decisive as will, more importantly, the qualitative data analysis. If this shows a further rise, new measures will be taken.

Another crucial parameter that will influence future decisions, given that ESY is managing and more lives are not endangered, is the economy, which is coming under increasing pressure with every day that passes.

Tellingly, the recent warning by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, that the foreseen 7.5 billion euros for support measures won’t be enough, has sounded the alarm that the economy must remain as active as possible.

Health authorities on Wednesday confirmed 1,151 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 159,866, while 27 more patients died from Covid-19, raising the total number of fatalities to 5,878. The total number of intubated patients was 246.