As Greece reopens sectors of its economy in preparation for its May 14 international reopening, one alarming statistic has health experts worried.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in the country continues to rise and reached a total of 9,713 on Wednesday, according to authorities.
The graph below — provided by the Financial Times — shows that, as of April 21, Greece has seen a steady increase in deaths per 100,000 residents since mid-February.
Greece is experiencing an opposite trend compared to the European Union, United States and United Kingdom, all of which have seen a moderate decline in deaths per 100,000 residents at least in the last week.
With just over 10% of Greece’s 11 million people vaccinated and the pandemic ongoing, intensive care units remain close to maximum capacity and pundits and political opponents are already accusing the government of ignoring warnings from health experts.
During a daily press briefing, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni denied accusations that officials are acting recklessly and said that such suggestions are insulting.
Peloni said that the administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was responsible for instituting the COVID rules, not the health commission overseeing the pandemic in the country.
The spokeswoman said that Greece’s decision to allow travelers from the United States and other nations to visit the country as of Monday, April 19, would be closely monitored.
Peloni described the exercise as a trial run and said qualifying visitors will be able to check into hotels to enjoy Greece’s sun, sea, and fun. But these individuals will also be subject to the same restrictions and lockdowns as locals, meaning that restaurants and bars will remain off limits, except for takeaway.
Greece’s vaccination campaign
Greece crossed the 2.5 million vaccination threshold on Monday and as of Wednesday 2,652,448 people in the country have been vaccinated.
Officials are expecting 7.4 million vaccine doses — more than half of which are supplied by Pfizer — in May and June, according to a tweet from Kathimerini journalist Niko Efstathiou.
Featured image: People wearing face masks on the island of Mykonos, Greece, on August 16, 2020. Photo by Thanassis Stavrakis, Associated Press
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