Royal Oak Tribune

Greece issues lockdown to help hospitals

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ATHENS, GREECE » With a surge in coronaviru­s cases straining health systems in many European countries, Greece announced a nationwide lockdown Thursday in the hopes of stemming a rising tide of patients before its hospitals come under “unbearable” pressure. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he acted before infection rates reached the levels seen in many neighborin­g countries because, after years of financial crises that have damaged its health system, it couldn’t afford to wait as long to impose restrictio­ns as others had.

“Wemust stop this wave,”

Mitsotakis said. “I chose once again to take drastic measures sooner rather than later.” Before the outbreak, Greece had one of the lowest rates of intensive-care beds per capita in Europe. It has since doubled the number to 1,013. But, of the 348 beds dedicated to coronaviru­s cases, only 128 remain unoccupied. It’s unlikely that number would’ve been enough to cope with what Mitsotakis said could be 1,000 new hospital admissions over the next 10 days, of which about 150 would likely have required ICU treatment.

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