“I am particularly concerned about the progress of the disease in Attica and the rest of Greece. The disease is spreading in society. It is not an issue of treatment, it is an issue of public health,” Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Tuesday regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus, in an interview with Real FM radio station.
Kikilias said the curbs against the spread of Covid-19 are having an effect but not to the same extent as during the first lockdown. He noted that a level of fatigue with the measures was inevitable, “as there is a sense that people must get about.”
He noted that the number of Covid-19 beds in Attica’s hospitals had increased since the start of the lockdown, from 1,673 ordinary Covid-19 beds to 2,064 and from 229 Covid-19 ICU beds to 312 at present. “This demonstrates the huge pressure on the national health system and the very great effort made by our healthcare staff to help people,” he added.
The minister said that Greece will soon reach the one-million vaccination mark and that this was a source of hope, as the more people are vaccinated the more quickly the pressure on the health system will subside and normality will return.
Kikilias also appealed to the general public to make “one final effort” to abide by the containment measures and not bend the rules, undoing the efforts of the entire year now that the solution in the form of a vaccine was in sight.
He estimated that Greece will have carried out 1,750,000 vaccinations by the end of March and that all Greeks above the age of 60 will have been vaccinated within May.
“We are also making progress with vulnerable groups. I think that it is clear that in March we will have many more vaccine doses than we did in February and January, while in April, May and June there will be even more,” he said.
This will allow everyone to be vaccinated and to create a wall of immunity, especially after the Johnson & Johnson and Curevac single-dose vaccines are approved, he added.
On incidents of “queue-jumping” in the vaccinations, Kikilias said he had not hesitated to ask for the resignations of those responsible and revealed that the government was already enlisting the aid of the private sector, with 120 ICU beds in the private sector converted to non-Covid beds for use by the public national health system.