Dozens of hospital doctors went on strike in Athens on Tuesday to protest “suffocating” conditions in clinics specialized for handling COVID-19 patients.
Greek authorities have managed to prevent the country’s fragile healthcare system from collapsing since the first coronavirus-related death was reported in March 2020. But now doctors are pressing the government to establish additional COVID-19 units, hire more staff and use more private sector resources as hospitals have reached approximately 80% capacity.
Doctors demonstrated in Athens while wearing surgical masks and hoisting banners with the slogan “Support health workers” and an image of a healthcare worker with a raised fist.
Athens-based journalist Savvas Karmaniolas posted images of the protest on Twitter.
“There is a serious risk both for critically ill COVID-19 patients and critically ill patients with other diseases,” Greece’s union of hospital doctors, OENGE, said in a February 18 statement (translated from Greek).
The doctors union described the situation in hospitals as “suffocating” and said that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the ministers of health have not yet responded to a teleconference request made on February 9.
“Any negative impact on the public’s health will be the sole responsibility of the government, despite its efforts to pass on the responsibly to hospital doctors and other health professionals,” the union said.
Greek news and media website timeline.gr posted a video report of Tuesday’s demonstration in Athens.
Reviewing the COVID-19 situation in Greece
More than 1,200 coronavirus patients have been in intensive care since the pandemic began one year ago.
Last week, the Greek government extended lockdown restrictions beyond Athens and the Attica region to more areas while keeping restaurants, schools, salons and non-essential retail stores closed.
Health authorities reported 880 new cases and 24 deaths on Tuesday. The announcement brings Greece’s total number of infections to 179,802 and deaths to 6,297.
Featured image credit: Savvas Karmaniolas via Twitter
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