Health Minister announces extension of covid measures for another week

An extension of the measures for at least a week was announced by the Minister of Health, Thanos Plevris in an interview with public broadcaster ERT. The minister pointed out that the government is waiting for the experts’ suggestion since the Committe is meeting today.

Thanos Plevris initially said that the Pentelis Children’s Hospital will return to normal operation in six weeks at the latest, and maybe this period will be even shorter. “I understand that this measure brings problems, but it is temporary,” he said after a question from reporters.

On the increase in the daily covid death toll

In relation to deaths, Greece is in a better position compared to other countries that have more advanced health systems. The minister underlined the role of “Delta” variant which had a frightening morbidity, as he characteristically said. Then, Mr. Plevris pointed out that we have reached the current vaccination rates, which are good, gradually, with the result that there are vulnerable people throughout the previous period that ended.

He also stressed that the mortality rate in hospitals in rural areas is higher, something that needs to be corrected as it is a long-standing problem.

Mr. Plevris added that regional structures should be upgraded.

“The NHS was not born in the pandemic, but it existed from before, we went through a ten-year crisis that “hit” the NHS as well,” the minister underlined. He went on to say that many developed countries, such as Germany, have sought help from neighboring countries to meet their needs.

In order to reach “1300 ICU beds from 565, a great effort has been made”, said Thanos Plevris. “Now we have the ICU beds we need to have under normal conditions,” he added.

One and a half billion from the Recovery Fund will go to primary and secondary care.

Concerning suspended healthcare providers

By March 31, it will be clarified what will happen to the suspended health workers. His suggestion is that the vaccination should be mandatory, otherwise the health professionals not being vaccinated will be expelled from the NHS.

This, however, is a central government decision that has not yet been made. In the next period, 4,000 positions of permanent nursing staff will be announced, the minister said, while when asked if someone should be vaccinated to get the position, Mr. Plevris noted that this has not been decided yet.

Concerning measures

The committee of experts is meeting today, the minister said. What worries the experts and the government is that on the one hand there seems to be an earlier de-escalation in relation to  cases, but on the other hand there is pressure on the NHS due to the Delta mutation.

It is logical that there should be an extension of the measures for at least a week, the minister noted, thus announcing the extension of the measures.