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Politics

Greek Health Officials Plan Containment if COVID-19 Variant Hits

ATHENS – With a mutation of COVID-19 ravaging the United Kingdom and other strains showing in the United States, Brazil and South Africa,health officials on Jan. 22 were to meet to discuss how to plan if it shows up in Greece.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias would lead the talk among the New Democracy government’s advisory panel of scientists, doctors and infectious diseases experts who provide guidance on lockdowns and health protocols.

The meeting, which will focus on coordinating and enhancing genomic surveillance with the operation of a nationwide network to monitor and analyze mutations and variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will be attended by the President of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Academy, Dimitris Thanos, the president of National Public Health Organisation (NPHO) Panagiotis Arkoumaneas and the epidemiology professors Sotiris Tsiodras, Giorgos Sourvinos, Dimitris Paraskevi and Gikas Magiorkinis.

A vaccination program is off to a slow start across the country with plans to inoculate at least 70 percent of the population of some 10.5 million people, or around 7.35 million, to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

Europe’s disease surveillance agency warned that three mutant variants of the coronavirus that emerged in Britain, South Africa and Brazil pose a high risk in Europe and will lead to more infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

The variants, which contain mutations or changes to parts of the COVID-19-causing coronavirus scientists say make them more transmissible, have been detected in Europe and will likely continue to do so, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a risk assessment, said Reuters and Kathimerini.

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