To lead the society to an “open” Christmas with the current mixture of measures is the goal of the government, however, under the existing fear of unpleasant upheavals with the coming of winter, it does not rule out the possibility of new interventions… in installments – week by week.

In the prime minister’s line that “the country does not close again“, horizontal, universal bans as well as the extension to the mandatory vaccination are strictly excluded from the whole government, as shown by the positions of five ministers (Plevris, Voridis, Georgiadis, Skylakakis, Economou) in a few hours the day before yesterday, but they intend to mobilize virtually every reserve. This is so that they do not face extreme dilemmas. In order to maintain the critical balance between an open economy and the protection of public health, Maximou has his eyes fixed on two “tanks”, namely the attitude of the unvaccinated and the citizens over 60 for the next 30 days until the eve of holidays.

And at the same time, by recording what is happening in the rest of Europe, the government maintains new, stricter moves in the drawer (which everyone is reluctant to open). Among them, the complete block in the daily life of the unvaccinated, as long as the dispersion continues, testing the endurance of the NHS.

As much as Kyriakos Mitsotakis exorcised the recent model of Austria a few days ago, which finally brought down a general lockdown, restoring shut-ins in Europe, the restrictive measures for the vaccinated, according to information, have been discussed and remain on the table.

There is pressure on the Health System “but it perseveres”, the government spokesman said in a discussion with parliamentary reporters, noting, however, that there is no answer as to what follows “whether it will turn into Armageddon and how Armageddon is defined”. According to Giannis Economou, “we are not abandoning our strategy”.

Scientists

Although the lockdown is a scenario that is also exorcised by the scientific community, characterizing it as an emergency measure with questionable results, scientists are maintaining a wait-and-see attitude and warn that the upheavals that the Delta mutation have brought us leave no room for certainty. As Nikos Tzanakis, professor of Pulmonology at the Medical School of the University of Crete, notes in “NEA” newspaper, this week is expected to prove whether the stabilization of the epidemic curve will be “locked”, even at high levels.

From there, the good and the bad scenarios unfold, with epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists wondering which will prevail. On the positive side, there is a gradual de-escalation at the beginning of December, while the bad development is to record a wave that will ease at the end of December. “Even in the good scenario, the decompression in the NHS will be delayed for at least three weeks. So we will see  the curve of intubation and deaths to flattening at Christmas”, the professor explains.

These estimates translate into a three-digit number of daily losses, with him describing a “heavy” daily routine. “But without the vaccine,” he says, “we would count 200-300 deaths every 24 hours.”

At a crossroads

Given these circumstances, he does not rule out the possibility that the country may find itself directly at a crossroads of difficult decisions. “In our case, however, and based on current data, the lockdown is not preferred. In other European countries the epidemiological situation is different, while they are also distinguished by socio-economic peculiarities. For example, some states are building an fort now so as not to miss the winter tourist season,” he explains.

In our country the criteria are different, with experts oriented to plan b targeted measures. “Among these is the restriction of opening hours in areas that are found through tracking to contribute to the pandemic, e.g. food service and fun. Also at points of extreme coloration, indicatively I mention the stadiums, the number of participants could be reduced in order to intensify the distancing measures,” describes the professor.

A debate is also opening on any incentives for the 60+ to intensify vaccination, which have reportedly been discussed in intergovernmental discussions. “The tax relief or a one-time allowance might have pushed people over the age of 60 to make an appointment,” concludes Nikos Tzanakis.

The same issue was mentioned yesterday by LSE Health Policy Professor Elias Mosialos, arguing that not everything needs to be done with a whip, since on the contrary, motivations are also an important social policy. As he noted, the members of the Committee of Experts have put forward proposals such as reducing the participation of the insured in their medication.

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