Greek health experts are troubled over a new surge in Covid-19 incidents concentrated for the most part in and around the Greek capital.
Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) on Tuesday announced a record 416 new coronavirus cases, with 240 in the greater Athens region and 61 found in incoming travelers.
Greek authorities and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have reiterated that complete lockdowns will be a last resort.
Over the last month, additional restrictions, including curfews, limits on public gatherings and suspension of cultural events, have been introduced, particularly in the wider Athens area in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Pointing to the spike of Covid-19-infected individuals in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), health experts, including doctors, nurses, and the Covid-19 committee made up of epidemiologists, have said that local lockdowns will be “inevitable” if the deadly virus is not restricted. They add that soon there will not be enough ICUs to cover the needs. Exacerbating the current situation, is the presence of new viruses with the coming of fall and winter.
At the same time, government authorities are considering the massive economic repercussions that such a decision entails. Last week, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the country’s economy can endure a possible second lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 if necessary, adding that the country’s available resources amount to 37.7 billion euros.
Speaking on Greek public broadcaster ERT, infectious disease expert Nikos Sipsas said that an action plan had been drawn up for Attica, taking into account two main factors: the course of the pandemic and the pressure on the national health system.
“At the moment, the most defining factor is the health system’s capacity to handle the incidents and especially the number of ICU beds. These indicators will establish whether we should take more drastic measures,” he said.
Last week, Sipsas had said that should there be a lockdown, it would be implemented “gradually, and will last for two weeks until the curve is flattened, and after that if needed it may be introduced again for another two weeks”, adding that schools would also close and SMS messaging would be re-introduced.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about how things will evolve in the winter, as the second wave of the pandemic hit very early,” he said.