June 18, 2021

Experts in Greece worried about new rise in cases as EU threatens AstraZeneca with export ban

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As supply problems continue to hamper vaccination campaigns in the European Union, health authorities in Greece have expressed intense concern over the latest epidemiological data, which show a rise in coronavirus infections in the last two days while there are increasing indications that the British variant of Covid-19 may have made inroads in northern Greece as well, after Athens and Crete.

 

It was announced Tuesday that 842 new cases of coronavirus had been recorded over the previous 24 hours, the largest number of daily cases recorded in the last 15 days. 

 

At least half of those cases were detected in Attica (427). Cases in central Athens were reported at 113 Tuesday (11 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), while the average number of cases in the last seven days was 52. In addition, 26 cases were recorded in eastern Attica, while the average in the previous seven days was just seven. Spikes were also recorded in other parts of Attica. 

Also Tuesday, 21 new deaths of patients with Covid-19 were reported, while 283 patients were intubated.

At the same time, scientists were scrutinizing suspected cases of the British strain with the president of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, not hiding his concern about a possible pandemic surge in the near future in comments to Skai TV.

He said that up until Tuesday morning, 59 cases of the British strain had been detected in Athens and on Crete, and that suspected cases had a high chance of being confirmed in northern Greece as well.

“We have to assume that the British mutation has spread in our country,” he said, adding that now that the coronavirus mutations have emerged, they are likely to influence some of the Committee of Experts’ decisions on restrictive measures. 

Meanwhile Tuesday, the European Union threatened an export ban on vaccine supplier AstraZeneca, to pressure the company to abide by the terms of the contract it has signed for the Covid-19 vaccine delivery schedule.

Furthermore, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said he supports monitoring which EU-produced doses leave the bloc. In response to EU pressure, the UK decried “vaccination nationalism.”

In Greece, 18,406 vaccinations were performed Tuesday, raising the total number of those that have received their first dose of the vaccine to 182,778.