On Wednesday the Civil Protection announced that businesses will open on Monday, despite the continuous increase of the cases and the lack of ICU units. In spite of criticism by doctors that the decision was mostly politically motivated, the majority of the society accepted it as a move to defuse the pressure of the five month-old lockdown. But on Saturday,the Civil Protection announced that the reopening of retail market in the regions of Thessaloniki, Kozani and Achaia is suspended from Monday, April 5 until April 12.
Following an extraordinary meeting of the National Committee for the Protection of Public Health against Covid-19 that took place on Friday, and taking into account the particularly worrying epidemiological picture presented by the Regional Units of Thessaloniki, Kozani and Achaia, it was decided to suspend the reopening of retail market in these three areas, the announcement of the Civil Protection said.
Of course the epidemiological situation is equally severe in Attica, causing a strong political criticism against the Minister of Development Adonis Georgiades, for putting pressure the stores in Athens to remain open, because they are his constituents.
“It is not an opening of the market, but a small step to learn to live with the virus,” the Secretary General of Commerce, Panos Stampoulidis, said on Saturday in an interview with Mega TV.
Stampoulidis said that in Thessaloniki, Achaia and Kozani the market will not be opened, while inter-municipal movement will be allowed on weekends in these areas. He reminded that department stores, shopping malls, discount villages and outlets will remain closed throughout the country. Everything else will work normally, he added.
He described the way in which the citizen will be able to visit the shops, clarifying that the message to 13032 is unique for each day and can be sent again after 12 pm.
He believed that this measure would help the psychology of the people and improve its daily life.
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance’s spokesperson Alexis Charitsis on Saturday described the suspension of commercial enterprises in Thessaloniki, Kozani and Achaia as “another huge blow” to the government’s credibility, “before they even open, just one day after the announcements for a horizontal opening of retail all over the country.”
He accused the government that has no serious planning and that it proceeds to communication tricks. “Dangerous communication fireworks endanger public health, further deepen the crisis in the economy ane eventually exhaust the resilience of the suffering Greek society.”
3,232 new infections, 70
deaths, 755 total in ICUs
Greece registered 3,232 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 4 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) reported on Saturday.
Greece has confirmed 273,459 infections from the start of the pandemic (daily change: +1.2 pct). In the confirmed cases of the last 7 days, 93 infections are related to travel from abroad and 3,270 to other confirmed cases.
There are also 70 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of pandemic victims to 8,302. Of these, 95.7 pct had an underlying condition and/or were 70 years old.
A total of 755 patients are on ventilators in hospitals. Their median age is 68 years and 83.2 pct have an underlying condition and/or are aged 70 or more. Another 1,746 have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began.
In addition, 449 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours (daily change of a -20.11 pct). The average admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitals over the last 7 days was 476.
The median age of new infections is 44 years, while the median age of the deceased is 79.
Greek hospitals have a long way before they become decongested, said professor of pediatric infectious diseases Vana Papaevangelou at the live briefing on Friday, but vaccinations are already effecting a drop in admissions for certain age groups.
The doctor note particularly that there is a significant drop in infections among those aged 75 or over, as well admissions of those aged of 60-64 in intensive care units. All these are age groups that have been vaccinated.
Leading however in infections in Greece is the group with a median age of 45 years, for which vaccinations have not yet begun, she noted.
Papaevangelou said that there were two trends, a steep rise in infections – 19,000 nationally just this past week, a 6.8 pct positive test rate per 100,000 of population – but at the same time a trend of stabilizing in the southern half of the country, including Attica Region.
Right now, active infections stand at 27,000 nationwide. Half of these are located in the region of Attica, where hospitals are still under immense pressure. But the trend is stabilizing there, while infections in northern Greece and at islands are rising, she added. This past week, new infections in Thessaloniki rose by 28 pct. The city has 2,000 active infections.
Nationally, some 5,200 patients are hospitalized in regular (non-ICU) Covid-19 wards.
Referring to the coronavirus home tests, Papaevangelou said they are “a significant weapon” against the dispersal of the virus.
KIKILIAS – PIERAKAKIS
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis visited on Saturday the mega vaccination centre in Elliniko.
In his statements, Kikilias stressed that the effort made to vaccinate the population “is the largest health project that has ever been organized in the country. It is a comprehensive, collective effort of solidarity and mutual support that unites the vaccination, its organization, its digitization, the new technologies, together with the human factor: the respect shown by the health workers, the doctors, the nurses, the staff, to our fellow citizens who come in order, with organization, without delay to be vaccinated.”
He then thanked Kyriakos Pierrakakis for his contribution and valuable assistance, as well as all other institutions, ministries, agencies that have helped in this great effort.
“It is an effort that is now moving rapidly. We will have 1.5 million vaccinations in April and we hope that in this way we will be able to get out of this health crisis and look to the future with optimism. I want to give courage to the Greeks, to tell them to be a little more patient, to observe the health measures and we firmly believe that we will succeed,” Kikilias underlined.
On his part, Pierrakakis said that is a huge health and national venture. “It is the largest health project ever done in Greece.”
“And what we have found is that the organization, all its parameters, the digital and mainly the physical parameters, how it is carried out, prove that the project is very successful,” he stressed.