Rising Covid-19 cases can be attributed to increased social interactions over the Christmas holidays and non-compliance with self-protection measures, assistant professor of Epidemiology at the University of Athens, Gikas Magiorkinis, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency Saturday.

Magiorkinis said numbers will have begun to fall by the end of January. It is not expected to put the national health system under significant pressure, he added.

According to the National Public Health Organization epidemiological report, the number of admissions showed a 37% increase between Dec 18 and Dec 24 over the average weekly admissions for the previous four weeks, and was higher than the number of admissions in the corresponding week in 2022.

There were 62 recorded deaths over the week.

He emphasized the need for vulnerable groups to use face masks, but added that this was not essential for the general public.

He also noted that the high transmissibility of the recent JN.1 sub-variant (of BA.2.86.12) had contributed to the spike. To date, 102 cases of the new mutation have been detected in Greece.

Another worrying factor raised by Magiorkinis are the low rates of inoculation with the updated vaccine.  Fewer than 200,000 people in Greece have been vaccinated to date, he added.

Finally, he noted that personal hygiene practices should be followed.