ATHENS – As Greece’s public hospitals have been overwhelmed with rising cases of COVID-19 being spread by anti-vaxxers not ordered to be inoculated, the New Democracy government is said to be thinking of conscripting private doctors to help.
Private physicians were ordered during lockdowns when the pandemic began in early 2020 to assist after most refused a call to provide services, and private hospitals weren’t being fully used either.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris, who has no experience in the health field, said the private doctors would be directed to join the fight if not enough of them volunteer to deal with a resurgence of the Coronavirus, said Kathimerini.“In order to strengthen the hospitals, people (doctors) are leaving Athens, which is still not under pressure, to help in other regions, but we have also given incentives to private doctors with an amendment,” the minister said during a visit to the city of Larissa in central Greece where the viral load is high.
“I want to be clear on that. If private doctors do not respond to the incentives, we will be forced to issue a requisition order,” he said, without explaining what the incentives would be otherwise.
Even as the number of cases has set records, he said there won’t be any lockdowns again as the government has instead required the unvaccinated to show proof of negative COVID tests to get into most public spots.
He again urged people to be vaccinated, a persuasion campaign which has failed and keeps being repeated although only some 61 percent of the population of 10.7 million has been vaccinated, short of the 70 percent needed to beat back the pandemic.
He also said that unvaccinated minors will have to show a negative COVID self-test that can’t be verified against any identification – not molecular or rapid tests – if they want to get into establishments where anti-vaxxers are allowed to mix with the vaccinated.