Update – 21/12/2021
December 21, 2021
December 21, 2021
As of the latest update by the Greek authorities, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece 1,037,759. 85 new deaths were reported raising the total number to 19,976. The number of patients treated in intensive care units is currently 670. 3,689 new cases were announced yesterday in Greece. 1,845 of the new cases were found in the Attica region and 529 new cases in the Thessaloniki region.
A “safety” plan will be implemented for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to limit the spread of the coronavirus and ensure that restrictive measures are followed.
The government is considering, among other things, screening the entire population through Covid-19 testing and increased monitoring to strictly enforce compliance with measures. It may announce its plans Tuesday.
According to government sources, rapid test will be mandatory for the vaccinated or those who have a disease certificate in order to enter indoor venues, especially for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Earlier Monday, Minister of Health Thanos Plevris had told Skai TV station that “what we are considering is that at some point we would like to test the entire population (so that) we can have an overall epidemiological picture of the country, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. That’s our concern: when decisions must be made they will be made.”
“We will celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s, there are no thoughts of imposing (lockdown-like) restrictions,” he added.
As for the Omicron mutation, he said that at present, in Greece, it does not have the dynamic profile it presents in the rest of the world. However, he said he believed the mutation will have an intense presence in January. That’s why, he said, emergency plans are being considered.
“We now have a de-escalation of the 4th wave (of the pandemic), waiting for the arrival of the 5th wave that will be due to Omicron. “We are worried about a possible rapid infection rate,” Plevris said.
He also announced sweeping controls in retail during the holiday season, adding that, in order to strengthen the public health system, collaborations the private health sector will be announced starting this week.
Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos told SKAI TV that 10,000 police officers will be patrolling the streets to monitor compliance with social distancing rules.
Government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said that “if such a measure (universal screening) needs to be imposed, the cost of the test to enter specific places will be borne by the citizens.”The government’s immediate priority is to delay, to the extent that is feasible, the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Officials say that every day that passes without the variant spreading is a gain, since thousands of people are getting a first dose of vaccine or a booster shot. Delaying the spread of Omicron was also behind the decision to require arrivals from abroad during the holiday season to take either a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, administered up to 72 hours before arrival, or a rapid antigen test, taken in the previous 24 hours.
This is still very much a delaying tactic. It is taken for granted that the Omicron variant will be well-established in Greece in the first half of January and, talk of its supposed mildness notwithstanding, authorities expect that hospitalizations will rise from mid-January onwards. So, authorities want to lighten the current load on the public health system before the new, fifth wave of the pandemic overloads it again.
More than 40,000 children aged from 5 to 11 have been scheduled for Covid-19 vaccination and more than 6,000 have already been inocculated, a health official announced on Monday.
Marios Themistokleous, secretary-general for primary health care at the Health, also said that more than 500,000 booster appointments have been made in the last 10 days.More than 6.9 million people in Greece have completed their vaccination, that is 65.7% of the general population and 75.2% of the adult population, he said.
The corresponding EU average is 67.2% of the general population and 78.5% of the adult population.
A wave of the Omicron variant may be concealed within the Delta variant wave that is already sweeping Greece, expert epidemiologist Professor Sotiris Tsiodras said on Monday at an event organised by the Athens University’s School of Medicine.
“The situation in Europe concerns us. It could lead to a great Omicron pandemic in Europe and therefore we must remain vigilant and on alert and propose additional measures, if necessary,” he said.
He also advised that people very strictly adhere to the existing protection measures during the period of the holidays.
The head of the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) Theoklis Zaoutis said EODY had increased its tracing of cases and may increase testing, while noting that Greece was not yet experiencing an Omicron surge.
All speakers stressed the benefits of vaccination in terms of serious disease, including for children and teenagers, where all deaths and ICU admissions have involved unvaccinated cases.
Tsiodras also referred to re-infection caused by Omicron, saying the figures indicated that this rose from 1 pct for other variants to 8 pct for Omicron.
A pharmacist in Crete was found guilty on Monday of providing falsified rapid tests and had his license revoked for six months. He also faces a 27-month jail term, on a 3-year probation, and fines up to 3,600 euros.
The pharmacist was granted probation on the condition that he pay the University General Hospital of Heraklion 1000 euros.
The pharmacist faced charges that he falsified medical certificates and violated ongoing pandemic measures, at the risk of infecting an indefinite amount of people. He had requested a delay which was rejected by the court.
In more detail, the 3,689 new cases detected per Regional Unit: