The meeting between the Minister of Health, Michael Hadjipantela, and members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, during which a COVID pre-emptive plan for the fall was discussed, ended earlier today resulting in the following statement from the Minister on the issues that will be addressed for the fall season and beyond.
The statement from the Minister of Health:
"First of all, I want to thank once again the scientists of the Scientific Advisory Committee who attended today's session, as well as those who participated online. They showed once again in August how much they care about this place. We had an excellent meeting today where the Medical Services of the Ministry of Health presented the road map for the management of the pandemic in the coming months. This roadmap presented today is not the final one, it is a draft. Everyone has been given a chance to pitch their view. In the next seven days, everyone will give some suggestions to the Ministry of Health so that the final road map can be presented on August 30 before the next session of the Council of Ministers.
"The roadmap includes the most important issue which is the opening of schools. It is an issue that we have looked at very carefully, we have discussed it quite a bit in relation to schools. One issue that we saw today is the epidemiological surveillance system because as you know in the last months the controls we have are very low. According to scientists, we may have a new wave in the winter and we must be ready for all eventualities.
"Another important issue we discussed today is regarding long COVID patients. This issue, which concerns us all, was discussed at length and will be brought to the fore again next week.
"Finally, the last issue that has come up is how the analysis will be made by the Medical Services on the reasons why some patients are hospitalized.
"There is also a section on vaccination and I want to inform you that in a briefing I received from the Commissioner of the European Commission Ms. Stella Kyriakidou, she told me that in the next two to three weeks we will have news about the new vaccines that will protect everyone from the new mutations and the procedures to be followed. So we have to be ready on how to manage them.
"On conducting Rapid tests, the suggestion that we will look at again next week – because as you know the numbers are constantly changing, luckily for the last 15 days the numbers are down and we hope they will be down for the next 15 days too – the suggestion is to conduct a 48-hour Rapid test on all students before they go back to schools. Depending on the results of this Rapid test we will decide what to do in the future. The proposal is also educational, but before taking this proposal to the Council of Ministers, we are trying to find ways to implement this decision.
"For the mask, the scientists are adamant that it protects us and at the moment we should not remove the requirement for adults and children over 12 years old.
"As far as the epidemiological picture is concerned, it is a virus that is unpredictable but I want the world to know that we are here, we have a program, and we have a plan to manage it, as we have managed it excellently lately, so let's do it in the coming months. We are satisfied, and the positivity numbers are decreasing for the last 15 days."
[This article was translated from its Greek original]