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Greece Reports Record 21,657 New COVID Cases as Omicron Rages

December 28, 2021

ATHENS – Greece confirmed 21,657 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 14 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Tuesday.

Since the pandemic began, Greece has confirmed 1,105,885 infections (daily change: +2.0 pct). In the confirmed cases of the last 7 days, 195 infections are related to travel from abroad and 1,644 to other confirmed cases.

There are also 60 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 20,557. Of these, 95.2 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.

A total of 635 patients are on ventilators in hospitals. Their median age is 63 years and 79.8 pct have an underlying condition and/or are aged 70 or over. Of the total, 540 (85.04 pct) are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and 95 (14.96 pct) are fully vaccinated.

Another 3,734 have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began.

In addition, 340 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours (daily change: +17.65 pct). The average admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitals over the last 7 days was 324.

The median age of new infections is 38 years (range: 0.2 to 106 years), while the median age of the deceased is 78 (range: 0.2 to 106 years).

Greek health committee proposes shorter quarantine

The Health Ministry’s specialists committee on the novel coronavirus proposed on Tuesday that quarantine of infected people be reduced by half to 5 days for those who show mild or no symptoms.

Committee members reviewed the recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which said that following the 5-day isolation, infected people should wear a mask for another five days whenever they are near other people.

The CDC also said that those who have completed the booster shot do not need to go into isolation if exposed to the coronavirus, but must wear a mask for 10 days after their exposure.

Further details are expected by the Greek committee.

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

COVID Cases Skyrocket, Omicron Rising

No lockdowns, no mandatory vaccinations, but standing in restaurants and bars not allowed, limits on music being played there, sports events still allowing some fans and nightclubs packed.

As COVID-19 cases broke records in Greece and the country girded for a tidal wave of more driven by the highly-contagious Omicron Variant, the New Democracy government said it would use only limited restrictions in return.

There remained confusion over measures in place and more coming on Jan. 3 as there were hopes of keeping a slow economic recovery going by allow entertainment venues and eateries to remain open, with requirements that people wear masks indoors and out and stay away from each other.

That has been largely shunned but the apparent hope was that people would obey as cases, hospitalizations, people on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and deaths keep going up.

There was a new high of 9,284 cases reported on Dec. 27, with 66 deaths and 629 people in ICUs and Kathimerini said that results from tests showed 9.74 percent were positive, a worrying number for doctors and scientists..

“We are entering a phase of the Omicron variant prevailing across Greece,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris told reporters, noting the great rise in cases, especially in the prefectdure of Attica, incuding Athens, the paper noted.

But New Year’s Eve apparently will still go on despite anxiety that gatherings could bring another astronomical rise in cases and further overwhelm the public health system and hospitals.

The government was said to be concerned that prohibiting New Year’s Eve activities where hundreds or more people can gather together would find them gathering at home in smaller numbers, the contradiction unexplained.

The government’s advisory panel which brings recommendations on how to deal with the pandemic is due to meet Dec. 29 to see if they should be revised yet again as changes are being made almost on the fly.

Nikolaos Tzanakis, an expert in respiratory disease and Vice-President of the Hellenic Thoracic Society, said there are at least some 100,000 active cases in the country and some regions are inundated, especially around Athens.

The new measures will be in place from Jan. 3-16 unless conditions worsen and will require mandatory use of KN95 or FFP2 masks or a double masking in supermarkets and public transportation, where the unvaccinated are allowed.

Entertainment and catering venues will close at midnight, have no standing customers and only a maximum of six per table with no explanation why people couldn’t be infected even then.

Distancing will also be enforced and a ban on music will take effect if the guidelines are violated although there have been reports of defiance, especially in nightclubs where anything goes in some.

In sports stadiums, admissions will be limited to 10 percent of the venue’s capacity, with a cap of 1,000 spectators. Violations will result in events being held behind closed doors. Visits to retirement homes will be limited to those who have performed a molecular test within the previous 48 hours, the paper also said.

Half the workers both in the public and private sectors will have to work from home and in staggered shifts although the last time that was in place there were reports that some public workers weren’t answering their phones at home and no indication whether they were working at all. Younger people were also urged to curtail their visits to elderly relatives to limit contact.

 

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