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Magiorkinis: The Covid Public Health Emergency Appears to Be Coming to an End

ATHENS – After three years of implementing public health measures to curb the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus and Covid-19, the public health crisis seems to be coming to an end, and the virus no longer has the same impact on public health systems, according to epidemiology professor Gkikas Magiorkinis in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Sunday.

Magiorkinis stressed that the virus had not disappeared, but the figures show a steady improvement in the situation as levels of immunity in the population are now extremely high. However, he warned that vulnerable groups still need to exercise caution.

“If the current situation continues, it will have fully subsided in the next few months as levels of immunity in the population are very high, with hybrid immunity (vaccination and illness) exceeding 90%,” Magiorkinis said. He added that the virus had not weakened, but the population has developed greater immunity against the various forms of the virus.

While the emergence of a new strain cannot be ruled out, Magiorkinis explained that the evidence of the last few months indicated that it would not cause the same problems as in previous phases, where a new variant of concern emerged every two or three months.

Regarding the decision to lift almost all Covid restrictions except in healthcare facilities and care homes for the elderly, he said that it was taken at the same time as other parts of the world, given that there was no longer any pressure on health systems due to Covid-19.

Among the measures that have been lifted is the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and the weekly rapid test requirement for unvaccinated staff in the public and private sectors. Those that catch Covid will still have to isolate, but this will be done through ordinary sick leave prescribed by a doctor.

The protection measures will continue to apply in healthcare facilities and care homes for the elderly, including measures for patients and visitors.

Magiorkinis warned that vulnerable groups would need to continue to protect against Covid by maintaining personal hygiene and keeping their vaccinations up to date. For immunosuppressed patients, he emphasized that they must take additional care and advised that they contact their doctors to gain access to the best treatment and medication options if they fall ill.

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