ATHENS – Restrictive measures against the coronavirus currently in effect will be extended by yet another week to Monday, January 31, the Greek Health Ministry announced on Wednesday, following a meeting of the ministry’s committee of health experts.
The measures had been put into effect on Thursday, December 30, through Sunday, January 16 and were then extended by one more week to January 23. They include the closing of all bars, cafes, restaurants and music venues at midnight throughout the week. These must operate without music, and they cannot cater to more than 6 people per table, while all customers must be fully vaccinated and be seated at all times.
The use of high protection face masks (KN95 or FFP2) is also mandatory for all passengers in all means of public transport, and highly recommended in crowded public areas, either outdoors or indoors.
Earlier today, Health Minister Thanos Plevris suggested that would happen when he told the state broadcaster ERT that while the government is waiting for the committee’s recommendations, an extension until the end of the month “seems reasonable.”
He said the increasing death rate was because of a peak of the more deadly Delta Variant over the holidays when health measures were tightened only toward the end of the year, the major rival SYRIZA blaming the government for a slow response.
West Attica University microbiologist Alkiviadis Vatopoulos told SKAI TV that health officials are trying to determine, however, why the pandemic has taken an even more deadly turn as it’s set to mark two years in March since beginning.
He said the unrelenting strain on public hospitals – private facilities haven’t largely been recruited to help – hasn’t been eased and that too many people wait too long to get treatment when they become ill.
“They should seek medical help when they become ill,” he said, encouraging people infected with Covid-19 to monitor blood oxygen levels and get to a doctor as soon as they feel unwell and not to wait and hope to ride it out.
Greece confirmed 20,107 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 53 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Wednesday.
Since the pandemic began, Greece has confirmed 1,723,496 infections (daily change: +1.2 pct). In the confirmed cases of the last 7 days, 430 infections are related to travel from abroad and 2,332 to other confirmed cases.
There are also 88 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 22,285. Of these, 95.1 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.
A total of 683 patients are on ventilators in hospitals.