639 new coronavirus cases on Monday; 62 deaths, 558 currently intubated

The coronavirus pandemic is on a downward trajectory, said professor Vana Papaenavgelou at Monday’s regular live briefing on the latest facts and figures.

The number of active cases dropped further over the weekend, yet only partially relieved the national health system, she added.

She noted however that the apparent slowing down of the pandemic can be reversed very quickly – if 20 people gather in a space of 150 square meters, the virus will disperse in just 8 minutes.

With this in mind, the member of the health ministry’s coronavirus experts noted that this Christmas will be “different,” as even an asymptomatic guest at the Christmas table will expose everyone to the virus. Therefore, avoiding crowded gatherings at any time but especially over the festive season must be paramount.

Health authorities last week had said that up to nine people maximum are allowed to gather in homes over the Christmas holidays, but on Friday Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias stressed that despite this leeway, it is preferable not to invite elderly relatives to the Christmas table.

On the upcoming vaccinations, Papaevangelou said that the vaccination of children and pregnant women will not be prioritized, along with anyone who has already contracted the virus and has recovered.

Speaking about coronavirus vaccines at the same briefing, professor Gkikas Magiorkinis said that Johnson & Johnson has announced it will have potentially positive results by the end of January, from trials on a single-dose coronavirus vaccine.

On the county’s current epidemiological profile, he reiterated Papaevangelou’s observation that the apparently slower dispersal of the pandemic has not yet relieved the National Health System to a significant degree. To illustrate this, he said that the number of positive diagnoses in Attica over the weekend stayed at the same levels as the one before it, whereas positive tests in Thessaloniki, the country’s most burdened region, dropped by 20 pct during the same time.

Monday’s statistics

Greece registered 639 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, of which 15 were identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Monday.

Registered infections since the beginning of the pandemic total 125,173 in Greece. Of these, 5,126 relate to travel abroad and 35,741 to already known cases.

A total of 558 patients are currently intubated in ICUs. Their median age is 66 years, 77.2 percent have an underlying condition or are 70 years old or more, and 166 are women.

Another 732 have been discharged from ICUs.

EODY also said that 62 people died in the last 24 hours, bringing deaths in Greece due to the pandemic to 3,687. Of the total, their median age was 79 years and 95.7 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 years or more. In addition, 1,475 were women.