x

Society

Greek Hospital Workers Demand More Hirings in Pandemic

November 12, 2020

ATHENS — Dozens of hospital workers held protests at hospitals in Greece Thursday, demanding more medical staff be hired as the country struggles to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus that has led to a new lockdown being imposed.

An increase in the number of people seriously ill with COVID-19 has seen the country's health system come under increasing pressure. As of Wednesday night, Greece had a total of 1,104 intensive care unit beds, of which 496 were set aside for COVID-19 patients. Of those, 335 are already occupied. 

The government has stressed it has massively increased the country's intensive care capacity, noting there were a total of just over 500 ICU beds in Greece when it came to power after elections in mid-2019.

"Every humanly possible effort was made so that we can, in the intervening time between the first wave and where we are today, reinforce the ICUs with beds and personnel," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday during a Parliament speech on the government's handling of the pandemic. "Whatever was humanly possible to be done has been done and continues to be done."

Mitsotakis said that no matter how many ICUs a country has, "and obviously we prefer to have more rather than fewer, a health system cannot cope if we do not hit the problem at the start of the chain. The start of the chain is the uncontrolled spread of the virus mainly through crowding and contact with people we do not know."

The prime minister said the resurgence of the virus in Greece and the rest of Europe was due to "young people having fun. I'm not saying this as criticism, of course young people are more susceptible to such behavior. But it's an observation and it needs to be heard."

Greece imposed an early lockdown during the pandemic's initial outbreak in the spring, a move credited with keeping the number of deaths and seriously ill very low. But a resurgence of the virus this autumn has led to a rapidly increasing number of people in intensive care units, and a sharp increase in deaths.

Those hospitalized include the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, who was airlifted to Greece from Tirana on Wednesday after showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and testing positive.

A hospital statement Thursday said the 91-year-old archbishop was in stable condition in intensive care with mild respiratory symptoms and a low fever.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who has been in self-quarantine since Wednesday after coming into contact with someone who tested positive, said he had received a phone call from his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who inquired about his health.

Relations between Greece and Turkey have been particularly tense in recent months, mainly due to a dispute over drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean. 

Dendias tweeted that he had thanked Cavusoglu for the call, and stressed he was in quarantine only for preventative reasons. Greece's deputy foreign minister is also in self-quarantine for the same reason. 

As of Wednesday night, Greece's total confirmed coronavirus cases stood at just over 63,300 with 909 deaths in this country of around 11 million people. 

____________________________________________________________

By ELENA BECATOROS Associated Press

RELATED

ATHENS - The politically volatile European Parliament elections, a time during which no candidate wants to make waves, has led to Greece temporarily setting aside development of wind farm projects that had been viewed as essential to developing sustainable sources.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

If an uninformed person had attended the Mitsotakis-Erdogan press conference a few days ago in Ankara, s/he could have come to the conclusion that the meeting was planned in order to discuss whether Hamas is a terrorist or a patriotic organization.

As part of a club documentary offering an inside view of his final days at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp was asked by the filmmakers to stand alone on The Kop one afternoon and gaze out around Anfield.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In 2018, Chad McGehee opened Side Hustle Brews and Spirits, an Abu Dhabi-branded brewery and distillery with funky camels on its cans and playful names familiar to anyone living in the United Arab Emirates.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Israel strongly denied charges of genocide on Friday, telling the United Nations’ top court it was doing everything it could to protect the civilian population during its military operation in Gaza.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.