Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chaired a video conference on Saturday on the implementation of the plan for the vaccination of citizens against the coronavirus in Greece.
Preparations for the receipt, storage and distribution of vaccines were reportedly discussed during the meeting. Particular emphasis was given to the prioritization for vaccination, as well as to the way in which citizens will make appointments for their vaccination in the 1,018 vaccination centres that will operate in Greece.
Mitsotakis stressed that “this planning must be the absolute priority of the Ministry of Digital Governance”.
He also underlined that during this period the health ministry must continue to be focused on the operation of the health system, since the pandemic is in progress and there should be absolutely no relaxation. It was also stressed that a public information campaign is needed to boost confidence in science and convince those who are skeptical about the safety of the vaccine. It was pointed out that the contribution of the medical community will be crucial in this area. Preparation meetings will take place on a regular basis in order for everything to be ready and for the vaccination to start immediately after the receipt of the vaccines expected in January.
Greece confirmed 1,383 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, of which 14 were identified at the country’s entry points, said the National Public Health Organization (EODY).
All cases in Greece total 114,568 of which 4,981 relate to travel from abroad and 30,207 to already confirmed infection cases.
A total of 594 individuals are intubated. Their median age is 65 years, 77.3 pct have an underlying condition or are aged 70 or more and 171 of them are women. Another 641 have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the pandemic.
EODY also registered 98 new deaths, bringing coronavirus fatalities to 2,902 in total. The median age of all fatalities was 79 years, 96.1 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or above.
The transmission chain of the novel coronavirus does not appear to be breaking, doctor Vana Papaevangelou said at the live briefing on the pandemic’s developments in Greece on Friday.
Papaevangelou, member of the experts committee at the Health ministry, said the persistence of the high dispersal rates were aided by the work-to-home infections, especially under the lockdown, when family members infected one another.
Overall, she said, the infection rates appear to be dropping and the median age of people becoming infected has risen to 49 years.
In addition, intensive care units are under a lot of pressure, she stressed, as they were nearly or over 80 percent full in Athens and 94 pct full in Thessaloniki. Of Friday’s new cases, 316 are located in Attica region and 367 in the Thessaloniki one. The latter region accounts for the greater part of northern Greece’s national lead in new and active infection rates.
“As long as the health crisis continues and as long as we are taking protection measures that reduce the economic activity, we will continue to support households and businesses,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in an interview with Mega TV on Saturday.
He reiterated that the 2021 budget, which will be voted in a few days in Parliament, “provides a significant amount, about 7.5 billion euros, to continue to support, if necessary, all Greeks in the first months of 2021.”
Referring to the relaxation of the measures, he said that a comprehensive plan is being formed that will be announced at the beginning of next week so that citizens, households and businesses know what will apply as of December 14.
The goal of the Ministry of Development and Investment is to open all the retail trade during the holidays, in stages, with a difference of 3-4 days between them with the shopping centres opening last.
“On Monday, 110 seasonal stores will open throughout the country, those that sell Christmas goods. We have received strong criticism from this industry, because we have not already opened these stores. All these stores are 19,000. Do you understand the risk that such a decision would have as we are trying to control the pandemic? But these 110 stores are few, we can control them and I believe that they will follow the measures,” Georgiadis said in an interview on Saturday with Skai TV, referring to the roadmap of the market opening, emphasizing that the stores will reopen in stages, with a difference of 3-4 days between them.
Hairdressers, toys stores, bookstores and florists will be among the first to open, he added.