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Greek Health Authorities Say Virus Cases Will Again Exceed 2000, Urge Compliance

Credit: Greek Reporter

In an interview with Greek national broadcaster ERT, the head of the Greek Health authority, EODY, predicted on Tuesday that the case numbers to be announced today will again top the 2,000 mark, last seen on Saturday, after yesterday’s slight dip.
Panagiotis Arkoumaneas warned the Greek public that the large number “will follow yesterday’s decline, as happens on Mondays.”
Blaming most of the recent increase in coronavirus numbers to the fact that people are not following the correct protocols, the health official warned the public to behave in a more appropriate manner, saying “now that winter is coming, the state and citizens must show responsibility.”
Regarding the especially troubling situation in northern Greece, where the large city of Thessaloniki is in partial lockdown, along with several other urban areas, Arkoumaneas stated that the EODY is closely monitoring the situation, with mobile units traveling throughout the northern areas of the country.
Telling reporters that the next areas to be the focus of the mobile units will be Komotini and Drama, he noted that “we will see if we can achieve — at least — stabilization, especially in Northern Greece.”
Continual risk assessments are being made in areas at high risk of coronavirus spread, with students being examined in an effort to understand how the outbreaks are occurring.
“Our first priority, in order to protect the health system, is the vulnerable groups,” he told ERT.
Arkoumaneas stated that there have been 6,000 additional employees added to the Greek health system at present and there are a total of 450 mobile units deployed by the EODY throughout the nation. At the present moment, he added, Greece has a total of almost 1,000 ICU units, which is a vast improvement over the 550 such units they had pre-pandemic.
And more are on the way, according to the EODY chief. “It is a huge effort. However, as it happens in systems more advanced than ours, they are (also) under a lot of pressure, not only because this second wave is very strong but also because we are entering the winter.” he explained.
“Across Europe, the preparation for the second phase has nothing to do with the first,” he told ERT. “The system, this time, is much more prepared. We are at all levels much better prepared. “Even the tests are much higher, from 800 at the beginning of the pandemic, last week we reached 30,000 in one day,” he stated.
He added that currently, no patient needs to be put on a waiting list for an ICU bed in Greece. But he warned that “in a few months we will reach the European average in the availability of ICU beds.”.
Regarding the frantic efforts to create more ICU beds in the country,  Arkoumaneas stated “obviously, something that has not been done for decades, cannot be done in a few months.”
In other Greek media reports, the presence of the coronavirus in the wastewater in the region of  Attica has increased recently, which is leading to concern that there might be an even greater increase in cases in the near future.
Athanasios Tsakris, a professor of Microbiology at the University of Athens, said in an interview with SKAI that considering the data that exists at the present moment, a lockdown is now possible for the Attica region.
“Now the real, second, epidemic wave begins” he stated, explaining that “the big problem is not only the cases, but also how long the health system can withstand it”. He added that this will be the major issue for the Attica region.
However, he added a note of hope, saying that this still hinges on the public’s behavior and adherence to correct coronavirus protocols. “If there is compliance of the society, the epidemic wave will be reduced,” he stated.

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