ATHENS – The dangerous roller-coaster ride of COVID-19 cases rising and falling – failure to follow health protocols the catalyst – is seeing another surprising bump that has health officals anxious.
A variant from the United Kingdom that showed up and a slow roll-out to a vaccination campaign that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said nonetheless was on scheduled combined to bring the surge, along with a lenient second quasi-lockdown that sees most stores open.
While Mitsotakis continued to say the vaccination program was proceeding well he also complained about a lack of supplies that is hindering the European Campaign hopes getting enough of the population inoculated to try to slow down the pandemic.
Greek scientists are analyzing the new strain with the President of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Panagiotis Arkoumaneas telling SKAI TV he was concerned.
“We have to assume that the British mutation has spread in our country,” he said, adding that now that the Coronavirus mutations have emerged, they could bring recommendations to tighten a lockdown just easing back.
The British Variant that was set off my a lockdown party in England after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ignored warnings for tougher restrictions is showing up especially in northern Greece now, after Athens and Crete.
After a number of days of cases falling they soared on Jan. 26 with another 842, the biggest in 15 days, setting off worry in the New Democracy government's panel of scientists and doctors advising Mitsotakis.
At least half of those cases were detected in Attica (427). Cases in central Athens were reported at 113 (11 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), while the average number of cases in the last seven days was 52, said Kathimerini.
There were also 26 cases recorded in eastern Attica, while the average in the previous seven days was just seven. Spikes were also recorded in other parts of Attica in the country's most populous region around the capital.
There were also 21 deaths and 283 patients were on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) that earlier had been nearly overwhelmed, the government not carrying out a promise to commandeer private hospitals.
The European Union threatened an export ban on vaccine supplier AstraZeneca, to pressure the company to abide by the terms of the contract it has signed for the COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said he supports monitoring which EU-produced doses leave the bloc of 27 countries to see if they're being sold elsewhere such as the United Kingdom which has left the bloc and complained of “vaccination nationalism.”
In Greece, 18,406 vaccinations were performed Jan. 27, raising the total number of those that have received their first dose of the vaccine to 182,778. But the first batch of vaccines from the team of the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the German lab BioNTech require two shots and only 7,780 had gotten both.
That is woefully short of the plan to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the population of 10.5 million people – or 7.035 million – scientists said is needed to slow and hopefully halt the pandemic sometime.