Greek health authorities have ascertained a steady but very slow de-escalation of pressure on the country’s health system over the last two weeks.
However, the estimates that the number of intubated patients will drop to 300 by Christmas have yet to be confirmed, making it difficult for authorities to reach any decisions about the duration of restrictions.
Meanwhile, as of late Monday, 21 European Union countries banned flights from the United Kingdom and Greece imposed a new seven-day quarantine for travelers from the UK over fears about a new coronavirus variant.
Nonetheless, international health experts were attempting to dispel the worry that vaccines may prove ineffective in dealing with the pandemic. What’s more, the European Medicines Agency, which on Monday formally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, expressed high optimism that it would be effective against the mutated strain.
“The mutated strain of the virus does not appear to be crucial to the effectiveness of the vaccine,” said Maria Theodoridou, emeritus professor of pediatrics and chair of the National Vaccination Committee, who was asked to comment on developments in Britain.
In Greece, as of Monday afternoon, 505 intubated patients with Covid-19 were being treated, compared to 558 a week earlier on December 14 and 600 on December 7.
Health authorities on Monday confirmed 526 new cases. The daily number of deaths remains high, with 85 fatalities yesterday bringing the total tally to 4,257.
At the same time, the authorities are continuing preparations for the start of vaccinations.
According to the schedule announced on Monday, the first 9,750 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be delivered to Greece on Saturday and vaccinations will begin on Sunday at Attica’s five reference hospitals: Evangelismos, Sotiria, Attikon, Thriasio and Asklipion.
By December 30, an additional 83,850 installments will have been delivered, while a total of 1,265,550 does will have arrived by the end of March. This amount will be enough to vaccinate about 630,000 people.
However, from January onward, the gradual delivery of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines will also begin, on the condition that they receive marketing approval from the competent regulatory authorities.
Health workers and seniors at nursing homes and other closed care facilities for the chronically ill will be first in line. People over the age of 85 will follow.