With the coming weeks deemed as particularly critical given the Europe-wide snags in the supply of coronavirus vaccines, the government is walking a tightrope as it strives to safeguard public health while at the same time securing the conditions for even rudimentary social and economic activity.
With this in mind, the government decided on Friday to follow the recommendations of the camp in its committee of experts that supports relatively mild restrictive measures, bypassing votes in favor of a tough lockdown for the next two or three weeks. Essentially, the measures it opted for restrict the movement of the public to some extent, without placing a lock, as it were, on education or retail.
According to high-ranking government officials, there has indeed been a spike in coronavirus cases in Attica, but it has not been an exponential one that would necessitate the imposition of more drastic solutions.
The same officials note three parameters that are the key to further actions. These are the capacity of intensive care units and overall pressure on the health system, the number of cases and the extent of mutations.
It goes without saying, the officials stressed, that the government will not hesitate to take immediate and drastic action if the unfolding situation requires it to do so.
Meanwhile, in relation to the mutations that constitute the new critical variable in the coronavirus equation, the British strain in Attica, based on the roughly 30,000 tests performed daily, has been detected in less than 5% of cases. This is even lower, one in 77, with the exclusion of clusters in places like nursing homes.
The British mutation is considered, based on the existing data, to be 15% -20% more contagious than the “normal” coronavirus. The alarm threshold is if this strain amounts to more than 10% of total cases in a given area, such as Attica.
Despite this rather ominous backdrop, some hope can be taken from the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which, as announced on Friday, will start being administered to people under the age of 65. Despite pressure for priority to be given to individuals who come into frequent contact with a large number of people, such as public transport drivers and supermarket workers, the criteria will be age, with the first category to be vaccinated being 60-65 year-olds.