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Despite Third Lockdown, COVID-19 Rises in Greece – So Does Worry

February 26, 2021

ATHENS – After initially showing some results, a third more restrictive lockdown in Greece aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 hasn’t been able to hold down cases, and public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) 90 percent full.

The New Democracy government still hasn’t moved, however as promised, to use private hospitals where doctors had been reluctant to help in the fight against the pandemic after being asked to join in.

The number of people on ventilators is an indicator of more serious cases, especially with variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa taking hold, leading to the lockdown pushed back until at least mid-March.

As of Feb. 25 there were 367 people in ICU’s and cases were jumping in Piraeus and especially in western Athens neighborhoods, some 880 in the prefecture of Attica which includes Athens.

The National Genomic Surveillance Network for Coronavirus mutations said 242 variants have been identified and 990 positive samples of the British and South African strains confirmed in Greece so far, said Kathimerini.

That’s despite an initially slow vaccination ramping up and one million of the country’s 10.7 million people expected to be inoculated by the first weekin March although it wasn’t said if that is for both of two shots required from the first batches from Pfizer-BioNTech and the UK’s Astra-Zeneca.

have been confirmed in Greece so far.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is relying on recommendations from his advisory panel of doctors and scientists who daily are monitoring epidemiological data and waste samples to determine the spread rate.

He is trying to balance saving lives while propping up an economy hammered by lockdowns that shut non-essential businesses more than half the previous 12 months, costing as much as 500 million euros ($606.31) in monthly losses.

Mitsotakis said he expected the vaccination program to begin to turn it around and with hope it could before the summer tourism season that is critical to bring in revenues is hit after a disastrous 2020 when the pandemic raged.

“We must remain very focused on the measures that we know work,” he said of the vaccine, “which is something that we did not have a few months ago,” although there’s been shortages.

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