Greece’s capital region remains on epidemiological high-alert, with health experts concerned about the increasing numbers of hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

On Saturday, out of the country’s 1,630 new coronavirus cases announced, an estimated 815 were concentrated in the Attica region.

The breakdown includes 220 of those found in the centre of Athens and 182 in Pireas, with the latter flagged as one of the areas closely monitored by authorities, as Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias pointed out.

Concentration of cases is also high in Thessaloniki (accounting for 200 of the ones confirmed on Saturday) but Attica is reportedly in a more alarming state, given the combined effect of rising cases, pressure on ICUs and virus mutations.

During the five-day period 22-26 February, Attica cumulatively accounted for just under 4,000 new coronavirus cases.

According to data made public by Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias, the region’s public hospitals are the ones under most strain across the country, with ICUs’ capacity nearing 90% by the end of the week, with 235 out of 262 beds assigned for Covid patients taken.

Athens’ Sotiria hospital is said to have reached breaking point with not a single ICU bed available for coronavirus patients, as reported by Greek TV broadcaster skai, while other two of the capital’s biggest hospitals, Evangelismos and Attiko were also approaching zero availability.

The designation of extra ICU beds is expected in the coming week, while the head of Greece’s Intensive Care Society, Anastasia Kotanidou, moved to reassure the public in a recent address that no critical patients will be left without proper care.

“Current pressure exerted on the health system is huge. Athens in particular, at this moment, is experiencing the biggest strain on hospitalisations and specifically in Intensive Care Units,” Dr Kotanidou said.

“On behalf of ICU specialists, I would like to reassure everyone that there won’t be a single person deprived access to an ICU.”

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