Greek gov't urges vaccination against COVID-19, influenza, as cases surge

ATHENS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Greek government urged further increase in vaccination rates against COVID-19 and influenza on Wednesday, amid a surge of infections in recent weeks.

The Greeks "who lost their lives lately were almost entirely unvaccinated," said Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis during a press conference in Athens.

Out of 1,028 deaths linked to COVID-19 reported since September across the country, only two were vaccinated, and out of 90 patients currently hospitalized in intensive care units only two are vaccinated, according to data presented by ministry officials.

The health system in Greece was still not under significant pressure from hospitalizations. Therefore, the ministry opted to stay with a strong suggestion for the use of protective facemasks mainly in hospitals and not proceed to an announcement of mandatory use of masks or other measures, like the ones introduced recently in other European countries, officials said.

In a country of some 10 million people, only 210,000 have received the latest dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 since autumn, and 2.9 million citizens have been vaccinated so far against the flu down from 3.4 million last year.

Greece records since November a gradual rise in COVID-19 cases, unseen since the summer of 2022, and a further increase was expected in the coming days, according to ministry experts, due to contamination during the Christmas and New Year's holidays gatherings.

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