Coronavirus cases in Greece hit quadruple digits as third wave fears grow

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Greece on Tuesday recorded 1,261 new cases of coronavirus and 22 fatalities, hitting quadruple digits for the first time since December.

Eighteen of the 1,261 cases involved international visitors tested upon arrival, with authorities conducting a total of 37,591 tests over the past 24 hours.

A total of 244 patients remain intubated in intensive care units while 1,131 have left ICU.

Fears of a third wave have grown as the country observes more cases of the UK and South African mutation of the virus, which was identified in Thessaloniki. Infectious Diseases professor Nikos Sypsas said the vaccine is less effective on the South African mutation.

“There are 3 mutations at the moment which infect more. It’s the British, the South African, and the Brazilian mutations,” he said.

Photo: Reuters

“There are very strong indications that the vaccines are less effective for the South African mutation.

“There is a possibility that the virus overcomes immunity and this will mean that we have to back to square one, back in the era of Wuhan,” Sypsas said.

“If the South African strain prevails in Greece, then it’s like having a new virus that the vaccines do not cover.”

The possibility of a third wave and how ESY is to deal with it were discussed on Monday in a teleconference convened by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, his deputy Vassilis Kontozamanis, Health Ministry Secretary-General for Primary Healthcare Marios Themistokleous, General Secretary of Health Services Ioannis Kotsiopoulos and the president of Greece’s ambulance service (EKAV), Nikos Papaefstathiou.

The ministry’s new operational plan, which was presented at the meeting, outlined the necessary interventions to increase the capacity of hospitals for the treatment of Covid cases in case this is necessitated by the pandemic’s course.

The plan is modeled on the one followed in Thessaloniki, where during the second wave, intensive care beds in ESY hospitals quadrupled, while reserves from the private sector were also utilized. ​​​​​

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