The government and the National Committee on COVID-19 are in a high stage of vigilance as regards protection from the more transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 and are focusing on stepping up vaccination in areas where it has been lagging.

Experts believe that this is one of the main reasons that the Greek vaccine rollout (Operation Freedom) must be expedited with the aim of building an effective wall of immunity within 60 days.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at a news conference after the EU summit stressed the importance of vaccination in shielding against massive transmission of the new variant.

“The most important thing at this stage is to persuade the undecided to be vaccinated,” Mitsotakis declared.

Kikilias: New variants increase need for vaccination
Meanwhile, Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias issued a plea for all who have not been vaccinated to do so as there are confirmed cases of the Delta in Greece (29 on 24 June).

Kikilias, in an interview with Euronews, underlined that the government and experts are focusing a strategy for dealing with the variant.

“People who have not been vaccinated should hasten to do so. Given the fact that science has given us weapons with which to manage the pandemic, it is a shame to endanger our lives and the lives of our fellow human beings because this variant truly poses a threat,” Kikilias said.

Local lockdowns if necessary

Asked about the prospect of localised public health lockdowns Kikilias said the measure will be enforced if necessary, as a last resort, although social responsibility and solidarity are preferable.

“Beyond that, when the organised state gives everyone the opportunity to be vaccinated and protect their lives, health, and families, that is an opportunity you ought to grab,” the minister said.

“We cannot live perpetually shut in our homes. One cannot permanently not have social life and economic activity, and not have tourism, which is our heavy industry.”

Sarigiannis: The Delta variant will predominate by late August

University of Thessaloniki Environmental Mechanics Professor Dimosthenis Sarigiannis discussed the course of the epidemic in Greece in an interview with Live News.

Sarigiannis said that ECDC studies have indicated that the Indian variant may account for 90 percent of new confirmed cases by the end of August.

“This happens because it has a 70 percent higher rate of transmissibility than the British variant and twice as high as the original virus that we had last year,” he stressed, adding that the pace of the variant has not changed.