Greek gov’t pledges more healthcare investments in post-pandemic era

Greece will invest more than 1.5 billion euros (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) over the next six years to further strengthen health services in the post-pandemic era, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday on the occasion of the World Health Day.

With the support of donors and the private sector, the country has invested significantly in the past year in strengthening the public healthcare system after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals had more beds in intensive care units (ICUs) and more doctors and nurses.

The financial crisis that started in late 2009 had weakened the healthcare system after rounds of austerity cuts.

On Wednesday, Greece confirmed 3,445 new coronavirus infections and 75 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the totals to 285,015 infections and 8,607 deaths since the first case was detected in the country in late February 2020.

A total of 749 patients are currently on ventilators in hospitals across Greece, while 1,805 have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began.

Starting April 12, high schools will reopen across the country, which has been under a nationwide lockdown since Nov.7, 2020, officials announced on Wednesday during a regular press briefing.

With the acceleration of the vaccination program and self-tests, Greece aims to start lifting the final restrictions in May, officials said.

To date, over 1.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country. Over 675,000 people have received both doses, according to the latest official figures released on Tuesday.

Globally, 269 candidate vaccines are still being developed in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Friday.