In the drawers of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection there are ’emergency’ plans ready to go into effect if the outbreak of coronavirus rises sharply. These are secret plans, which everybody wishes to never implement. The competent services, however, are obliged to set them up in order to have an organized reaction of the state, even if the most straightforward scenarios become a reality. The first measure of “escalation” of the restrictions under consideration is the prohibition on traffic.
If the government finally enforces the traffic ban, a detailed description of how it will be implemented will be provided. The measure will ban all unnecessary movement of citizens. The cases where citizens can leave their home will concern:
- Moving from home to work, where teleworking is not possible.
- Shopping essentials from the supermarket (once a day).
- Transfers to and from hospitals if necessary for medical examinations or hospitalization.
- Movements on issues related to the need to help people (for example the elderly) living on their own and needing help to serve their basic needs.
- Walking distance from home for individual sporting or pet needs. Also, the rule will exclude all citizens working in the country’s critical infrastructure services.
The “burden” of implementing the measure will fall on the police, as was the case with more than 10 people banned last week. The Emergency Call Center received in the first days 150 calls per hour for non-compliance with restrictions. In the event of a traffic ban, police officers with continuous searches will impose fines on the ‘unruly’.
The proposal to issue special cards, which will be distributed to citizens to control their movement, has also fallen on the table. Competent sources, however, point out that “this is the last resort, as such a measure necessarily violates our individual freedom, burdens the psychology of the citizens and destroys the economy.” Emergency plans include estimates of the requirements the health system will have to meet in the event of a rapid spread of the virus:
“According to international data, in a population of 10 million with an estimated proportion of high-risk patients at around 15% -25%, a pandemic would lead to the following: Increasing outpatient visits of 400,000-500,000 patients. Increase in deaths in the range of 1,500-7,000. Increase in hospitalizations ranging from 4.250 to 16.750 persons. If patients were treated with antivirals, up to 170,000 doses of medicine would be needed. ” But what about the adequacy of the beds in case of emergency? In the chapter of the National Pandemic Management Plan entitled “Ways to Increase Available Beds”, it states: “Increasing empty beds by reducing regular and non-urgent imports. Provision of private hospital beds to public hospital patients. Reduction of regular admissions to private hospitals. Use of military hospital beds and rehabilitation units. Converting hotels to health centers. “
At staff level, the Ministry of Health estimates that with the new hires there will be no gaps. However, in case of urgency, the chapter entitled “Possible sources of medical and other staffing” states: “To address staff shortages in hospitals the following can be exploited: Medical students, secondary and tertiary students registries of nurses’ associations, specialized doctors, based on registries of local Medical Associations and the Hellenic Medical Association, other health professionals, such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, volunteers Managers of non-governmental organizations in support of non-medical services. ” Hospitals have emergency plans.
At the same time, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection has plans to put them in quarantine villages or even cities, as was the case in the two villages, Damaskinia and Dragassia, in the municipality of Vojos in Kozani. The plans provide for the surveillance of quarantine, the supply of essential supplies and the proper operation of critical infrastructures to avoid problems with electricity, water and telecommunications.