Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Information and details on the new self-tests and all those the people should know for the self-test that massively promotes, according to government sources, Greece free of charge gave the government on Saturday.
According to the guide, free antigen tests will be available from the first week of April to the citizens to make the test themselves. It is a new tool that Greece introduces in the struggle against the pandemic.
What is important is the fact that Greece is the first European country that enshrines the easy access and wide usage of these tests for the citizens’ self-examination every week, easily and free of charge.
2,535 new coronavirus cases,
60 deaths and 672 in ICUs
Greece confirmed 2,535 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 11 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Saturday.
Greece has confirmed 235,611 infections from the start of the pandemic (daily change: +1.1 pct). In the confirmed cases of the last 7 days, 67 infections are related to travel from abroad and 2,362 to other confirmed cases.
There were also 60 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 7,421. Of these, 95.8 pct had an underlying condition and/or were 70 years old.
A total of 672 patients are on ventilators in hospitals. Their median age is 68 years and 82.0 pct have an underlying condition and/or are aged 70 or more. Another 1,572 have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the pandemic.
In addition, 513 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours. The average admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitals over the last 7 days was 469.
The median age of new infections is 44 years, while the median age of the deceased is 79.
Gov’t eases restrictions
Free Covid-19 rapid tests, reopening of parks, archaeological sites and hair salons, and changes in curfew were among the measures announced by the government on Friday, in a live briefing that acknowledged ‘lockdown fatigue’.
Introducing the changes, Deputy State Minister to the Prime Minister Aris Skertsos also announced that as of the end of the month or early April, every person with an AMKA (medical insurance) number will be able to acquire a free Covid-19 rapid test per week from pharmacies.
The minister responsible for government coordination reviewed government achievements in the past year – since the first lockdown in March 2020 – and Greece’s standing among other EU countries in managing the pandemic. Skertsos also spoke of a “new trust agreement” between the state and citizens and called for less divisive discourse.
The measures relaxing outdoor restrictions are expected to restrict the spread of infections at home parties while maintaining the basic regulations of masks and social distance.
The changes, and the dates of implementation supplied for some, were detailed at the same briefing by Deputy Civil Protection Minister for crisis management:
– Curfew will begin at 21.00, remain the same throughout the week, and end at 00.50 the next morning (as of Saturday, March 20)
– Hair and nail salons will reopen on Monday (March 22)
– Open-air archaeological sites will reopen, with restrictions and a ban on cars and motorcycles
– Public parks will reopen, with restrictions and a ban on cars and motorcycles
– Greek Orthodox cathedrals may reopen with restrictions ahead of Easter on three major religious days this month: March 21, March 25 and March 26
– Amateur fishing is allowed only for residents of coastal areas
In all of the above, mask wearing is obligatory and distances should be kept. For those going to public parks, sites, and fishing, the SMS (text message) code is 6.
Additionally, Hardalias also announced that Myconos and Zakynthos islands, among other areas, will go on a high-alert status as of 06.00 on Saturday, after a rise in coronavirus infections. On the other hand, Samos, Lefkada and Rhodes, which were on high alert, will no longer be so as of Monday but they are not out of danger yet.
A 77 pct of doctors and a 51 pct of nursing staff have received coronavirus vaccines to date, said Alternate Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis at Friday’s televised briefing.
Kontozamanis stressed that health staff were among the first citizens to be prioritized for vaccination, and noted that their vaccination continues. He expresed the hope that the numbers of vaccinated health professionals will increase in the near future.
Attica Region retains high
coronavirus infection rate
Greece’s viral load remains high despite the fact that the pandemic seems to be stabilizing in some areas, while remaining high in Attica, said professor of pediatric infectious diseases Vana Papaevangelou during Friday’s live briefing on the pandemic.
She said the rolling 7-day averages of daily hospital admissions and of new infections stand at 450 and 2,250, respectively. The rate of positive diagnostic tests went up to 6 pct from 4.5 pct, while active infections stand at 20,000 nationwide. There is, however, a marked drop in infections among those aged 75 or over due to vaccinations, she noted.
Some 4,600 patients are being treated in regular Covid-19 wards across the country, of whom 2,500 in Attica alone. In the meantime, hospital admissions are increasing in the regions of Achaia, Thessaloniki and Crete, she added.
One reason the ongoing health restrictions have not brought the desired result in Attica is that it is the country’s most densely populated region, she observed. As such, it is hard to contain the coronavirus’ dispersal in an urban terrain of that scale; even if new infections were to be contained in Attica, she noted, its health system would stay burdened for another 2-4 weeks.