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Greece Hospital Workers Request Staff for Surge

Αssociated Press

Protesters take part in a rally during a 24-hour nationwide strike by state hospital workers outside the health ministry in Athens, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS -- State hospital workers in Greece staged a protest Thursday outside the country’s Health Ministry to demand increased hiring and staff support amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

A union representing the workers is calling on the government to hire hundreds of additional medical staff to the state-run health system and provide more administrative staff and translators to communicate with migrants.

Greece kept infection rates low before the summer but cases have risen in recent weeks. The total confirmed infections reached more than 16,000 since the start of the pandemic and the death toll to 357.

Public hospital managers say COVID-19 wards in greater Athens are near capacity and have staffing shortages.

The government says it is increasing intensive care spaces and vowed to step up policing health restrictions to ensure compliance by businesses and the public.