Update – 19/03/2021
March 19, 2021
March 19, 2021
As of the latest update by the Greek authorities, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece is 230,317. 45 new deaths were reported raising the total number to 7,297. The number of patients treated in intensive care units is currently 645. 3,073 new cases were announced yesterday in Greece. 1,524 of the new cases were found in the Attica region and 304 new cases in the Thessaloniki region.
The sheer number of patients undergoing the invasive treatment, which involves placing a tube in the patient’s throat to assist in breathing, has put an immense amount of pressure on Greece’s hospitals. Due to the difficult period, in which Greece’s hospitals are stretched to their limits, Greece has appealed to doctors in the private sector to volunteer to help in the country’s public healthcare system (ESY).
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias called on pathologists, general practitioners, lung specialists and anesthesiologists in the private sector to volunteer their services. “With 3,465 Covid-19 infections reported (Wednesday), we can confirm we are at the toughest point of the pandemic’s development, and the ESY is on high emergency mode,” the minister said. He added that a total of 4,648 Covid patients are currently hospitalized, 1,000 of whom were admitted this week.
He insisted, however, that hospitalized coronavirus patients would find a bed in an ICU within 24 hours.
In total, Greece has 1,400 ICU beds dedicated to Covid patients.
Kikilias appealed for more private sector doctors to help out, and warned that if there are not enough volunteers, he will ask Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to enforce mobilization.
The drug regulator the European Medicines Agency ruled on Thursday that the AstraZeneca vaccine is indeed safe for use, despite growing concern around the bloc that it was the cause of thrombosis and deaths around Europe.
The finding will doubtless come as a relief to dozens of European countries which are heavily reliant on the vaccine as a way to stem the tide of advancing waves of the coronavirus. Italy, Spain and Grece, among other nations, are undergoing severe lockdowns as a third and fourth wave of the pandemic sweep across the land.
More than a dozen countries had placed a pause on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine product after reports of thrombosis and deaths occurred in Austria, Holland, Denmark and Norway.
Noting mounting lockdown fatigue across Greece over the past few weeks, University of Geneva geneticist Manolis Dermitzakis has expressed support for the reopening of retail and some leisure activities, as long as they can be carried out in the open air.
“It is obvious that right now we have a lot of transmission across the board of activities. It is not easy to control activities that take place in the home during a lockdown,” he told Skai television on Thursday night, arguing that more activities “need to be brought out of the home” and “into the open air.”
“The situation inside a house is not coordinated. People don’t wear masks, the space is enclosed, so transmission is much easier,” Dermitzakis added, echoing the views of other experts who have said that mounting frustration with restrictions is leading to increasing violations of safety rules inside private homes.
He suggested that cafes and restaurants – among other leisure businesses – should be allowed to open, but only with outdoors service. “We can have activities that are coordinated and careful, not relaxed, in areas where there is less chance of transmission,” he said.
The outspoken academic and researcher was also adamant about the destructive effects of a longer lockdown.
“I do not agree with my colleagues, who recommend waiting for another 10 days to see case numbers drop. What is their reasoning? Why haven’t they dropped yet?” he asked.
“Even if they don’t agree with what I’m proposing, we need new suggestions because the measures we have right now are not sustainable. If this lockdown continues, we’ll reach 5,000 cases a day,” Dermitzakis warned.
In more detail, the 3,073 new cases detected per Regional Unit: