GREECE: Greece on Thursday ordered private sector doctors in five regions in the north of the country to assist its health system as it grapples with a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The government had called on private sector doctors to help out earlier this month, as Greece’s public hospitals and intensive care wards have been overwhelmed by rising infections in recent weeks.
The requisition order, published in the official government gazette, is effective for a month. Greece reported 6,682 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday and 87 deaths, bringing total infections to 853,841 since the pandemic began last year, while 17,012 people have died.
Earlier in November, the government imposed restrictions to unvaccinated citizens in an effort to curb soaring infections.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to address the nation later on Thursday, calling for more Greeks to get vaccinated. About 61.8% of a population of about 11 million are fully vaccinated, while authorities had hoped for a rate of about 70% by autumn. Meanwhile, Associations representing restaurants and catering businesses in Greece organized strikes and protests across the country Tuesday, seeking renewed financial relief from the government due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally busy restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and traditional tavernas in Athens remained closed with chairs flipped onto outdoor tables, including in the Greek capital’s historic Plaka district.
Protesters in the northern city of Thessaloniki placed an empty coffin outside a government building, while marchers carried black balloons in the southern port of Patras. Brief scuffles broke out at a rally in central Athens when police stopped demonstrators blocking traffic near the prime minister’s official residence. – IANS