Dozens of Greeks line up for Covid-test as gov’t mulls new restrictions
Greeks spent the second day of 2022 new year with small social gatherings, a walk in the sun and long queues outside pharmacies, private diagnostic centers and public facilities for a Covid-test. The first week of the new year started again with long queues outside diagnostic centers, with dozens of Greeks to have started lining up since very early in the morning.
Average waiting time outside private facilities is 60 minutes, while it can take several hours at a public facility.
Some want to know if they “survived” the festive gatherings without getting the virus, others because they have symptoms and other because they found out they have been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.
Over the weekend and with much fewer tests the confirmed cases were:
Saturday Jan 1: 30,010 confirmed cases, 59 deaths and intubations at 620
Sunday, Jan 2: 17,633 confirmed cases, 61 deaths and intubations at 626.
On Sunday, 22.41% of the total 11,921 PCR and 66,758 Rapid tests were positive to coronavirus.
Apparently based on the slightly decreased infections numbers over the weekend, some private TV channels cheered on Sunday evening that ‘the pandemic was almost over.’
Monday morning, Development Minister and New Democracy vice Adonis Georgiadis announced that “the pandemic will be over in a month.”
This looks pretty much like the new official narrative as the government decided to open again today Monday, toddler-kindergartens and tutorial schools (frontistirio) and plans to open schools of all level on January 10, even though the Omicron variant seems to affect vehemently children and youngsters.
Whether the pandemic is or will be over soon, the problem is that the government is sending again ambivalent messages to the public that is largely confused.
Some local experts spoke earlier on Monday of a pandemic peak in the time January 19-22 with 65,000 daily coronavirus cases and warned that confirmed cases may reach even 80,000 on a single day. Others predicted up to 55,000 daily cases until Jan 25 and some said that there is 70% protection to those who have been administered full vaccination and also the booster shot.
Gkiks Majiorkinis, assistant professor at the department of health and epidemiology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, who leads also the weekly live briefings on the pandemic, told state-run news agency amna:
“The transmission of the Omicron variant is expected to peak quickly and start to level off within January, based on how it behaved in South Africa. The most likely scenario is that we will see a decline within January. The second scenario, which is less probable, is a decline by the end of February. Based on the above, I believe that it will soon peter out.”
Greece’s Epidemiologists’ Committee is expected to meet on Tuesday or Wednesday, to make recommendations concerning the reopening of schools.
Meanwhile, several ministers indicated that more restrictions and measures are due but again they ruled out a general lockdown.
Coronavirus cases skyrocketed to 180,000 last week forcing the government to implement restrictions before the New Year’s Eve. Health officials say that the Omicron variant is prevailing, while the Delta is still present.