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Update – 20/01/2022

corona virus

As of the latest update by the Greek authorities, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece 1,723,496. 88 new deaths were reported raising the total number to 22,285. The number of patients treated in intensive care units is currently 683. 20,107 new cases were announced yesterday in Greece. 7,400 of the new cases were found in the Attica region and 1,889 new cases in the Thessaloniki region.

Greece has begun imposing recurring fines on those over the age of 60 who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 to try to boost inoculation in the most vulnerable age group even as infection rates from the fast-spreading Omicron variant are slowing.

After hitting an all-time high of 50,126 registered coronavirus infections on Jan. 4, mainly driven by the spread of the Omicron variant over the Christmas holidays, cases have been falling in recent days.

But with the more severe Delta variant still infecting many Greeks and causing serious illness in people over the age of 60, the country has been registering many dozens of daily deaths at its hospitals. About nine in 10 coronavirus-related fatalities are people over 60, the government has said.

“They did the right thing because it’s good for all of us and our health,” said Vassilis Chrisikos, 85. “We got vaccinated, (so) shouldn’t everyone get vaccinated to get rid of this coronavirus?”

Greece is among a growing number of countries that have tightened vaccination requirements on certain professions or age groups as the Delta and Omicron variants have added fuel to the pandemic.

The announcement of a monthly 100 euro ($113.36) fine in November for people over 60 who failed to get vaccinated or book a vaccination appointment by Jan. 16 has helped increase the take-up rate to more than 90% of that age group, health officials have said.

For the remaining 10%, a fine of 50 euros will be collected through tax authorities for January that will rise to 100 euros for each month from February onwards to help fund state hospitals.

The sum is expected to hit Greek pensioners, who make up about a quarter of Greece’s population of nearly 11 million. This group saw its state pensions cut several times during Greece’s 2010-2018 debt crisis.

“On one side it’s good, because it will keep people from dying. On the other, it is a bit hefty, for pensioners,” said Panagiotis Chatzigiannis, 73.

A catering and entertainment company is facing a €50,000 fine for organizing a so-called corona party in Athens on January 15 which was attended by hundreds of high-paying guests.

Police launched an investigation into the event after photos and videos from the party began circulating on the internet. Their findings establishing that the party took place in the basement of a building below a well-known night club in the central Metz district.

The venue had been hired for the occasion.

A case file has been prepared against a 34-year-old ethnic Greek from Georgia, who has not come forward to testify. His company, meanwhile, has been handed a €50,000 fine.

According to reports, more than 200 revelers attended the party, paying between €600 and €1,000 for sofas accommodating from six to 10 people. Drinks were extra, at €50 per person.

With pressure on the public health system persisting despite a gradual easing in coronavirus case numbers, authorities are seen extending a series of restrictions on leisure and capacity ratios until the end of the month.

Greece’s committee of public health experts, which is convening on Wednesday to discuss the way forward, is expected to recommend an extension of earlier closing times and stricter health protocols by one week, from January 23 to January 31.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris indicated as much in comments to state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday, saying that while the government is waiting for the committee’s recommendations, an extension until the end of the month “seems reasonable.”Commenting on the high morbidity rate among Covid-19 patients at Greece’s hospitals, Plevris attributed the trend to a peak in the Delta variant over the holidays.

The high death rate was also the subject of comments by West Attica University microbiologist Alkiviadis Vatopoulos, who told Skai TV that experts are investigating the causes of the phenomenon.

He added that long-term strain on the public health system and patient hesitancy to seek treatment before their condition deteriorates significantly may provide part of the explanation.

“One useful message is that they should seek medical help when they become ill,” he said, encouraging people infected with Covid-19 to monitor their blood oxygen levels and to reach out to their doctor as soon as they feel unwell.

In its daily bulletin on Tuesday, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported 23,340 new coronavirus cases from some 568,500 tests, putting the positivity rate at 4.1%, which is an improvement from last Tuesday’s 5.6%.

However, EODY also reported 106 Covid-related deaths, a rise from the seven-day average of 87 fatalities, which was also higher from the seven-day average the week before of 72.

Pressure on intensive care units was also significant with 673 patients on ventilators, while hospital admissions came to 475, according to Tuesday’s bulletin.

In more detail, the 20,107 new cases detected per Regional Unit:

  • Attica 7,400
    • Eastern Attica 974
    • Northern Sector of Athens  977
    • West Attica 398
    • Western Sector of Athens 940
    • Central Sector of Athens 2,107
    • Southern Sector of Athens 794
    • Piraeus 1,092
    • Islands 118
  • Thessaloniki 1,889
  • Etoloakarnania 296
  • Andros 2
  • Argolida 179
  • Arcadia 112
  • Arta 131
  • Achaia 686
  • Boeotia 164
  • Grevena 17
  • Drama 180
  • Evros 353
  • Evia 308
  • Evritania 22
  • Zakynthos 69
  • Ilia 196
  • Imathia 185
  • Heraklion 751
  • Thassos 12
  • Thesprotia 63
  • Thira 71
  • Ithaca 2
  • Ikaria 4
  • Ioannina 332
  • Kavala 199
  • Kalymnos 41
  • Karditsa 158
  • Karpathos 6
  • Kastoria 107
  • Kea-Kythnos 2
  • Corfu 186
  • Kefalonia 66
  • Kilkis 73
  • Kozani 209
  • Corinth 272
  • Kos 55
  • Laconia 88
  • Larissa 547
  • Lasithi 139
  • Lesvos 133
  • Lefkada 33
  • Lemnos 32
  • Magnesia 341
  • Messinia 262
  • Milos 12
  • Mykonos 58
  • Naxos 57
  • Xanthi  155
  • Paros 17
  • Pella 180
  • Pieria 247
  • Preveza 66
  • Rethymnon 287
  • Rodopi 181
  • Rhodes 277
  • Samos 65
  • Serres 151
  • Sporades 25
  • Syros 41
  • Tinos 13
  • Trikala 220
  • Fthiotida 176
  • Florina 69
  • Fokida 22
  • Chalkidiki 240
  • Chania 572
  • Chios 105
  • Under investigation 433

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