NEWS

Tighter lockdown not being ruled out

Tighter lockdown not being ruled out

The possibility of an even tighter lockdown this week at any given moment is not being ruled out, according to government sources, who note that existing measures to prevent the pandemic from veering out of control are being evaluated on a daily basis. 

“The data can be updated at any time,” sources said, while the possibility of a total lockdown was left open by the president of EODY Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, telling Skai TV that the option is always on the table. He also said that the fast-spreading UK variant of the coronavirus could become the predominant strain in Greece in the coming months. 

He said the strain is up to 40 percent more transmissible, however adding there is no evidence of an increase in mortality.

Tellingly, experts say the data from the analysis of sewage suggests that a third wave of the pandemic is at the gates, and a stronger one at that, compared to the one in October. 

According to Nikos Thomaidis, professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Athens, whose team conducts measurements of urban wastewater in the Attica basin, there was “an eruption of the viral load” last week. 

Specifically, on Friday, February 5, there was a 205% increase in the weekly average viral load compared to Friday, January 29, which also showed an increase of 80% compared to Friday, January 22. In other words, Thomaidis said, there was a gradual increase in the viral load from Christmas week and for the next six weeks and then a sharp escalation.

“It’s clear. We are in front of the third wave,” he says.

Meanwhile, people aged 60 to 64 and 75 to 79 are the next population groups to start vaccinating next week. The emvolio.gov.gr platform opens on Wednesday for the planning of vaccination appointments for people aged 60 to 64 and next Friday, February 12 for people aged 75 to 79.

Vaccination of these groups, which is estimated to affect more than 1,000,000 people, will begin five days after the platform is activated and is expected to be completed in March. People aged 60 to 64 will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which, as clarified on Monday, is extremely effective. Greece has already received the first 45,000 doses.

Another 638 new infections were reported, which drove the total number to 164,575. More than half of these cases (361) were in Attica. Twenty-five patients died from Covid-19, raising the total number of fatalities to 5,997.