The COVID-19 committee of experts in Greece recommended the reintroduction of mandatory mask-wearing in hospitals and healthcare facilities for individuals with health issues on Thursday.

The suggestion comes after the recent spike in COVID-19 and influenza cases over the past few weeks, with experts expressing growing concern while also appearing worried about the low turnout for the updated vaccine, as only one in ten individuals in vulnerable groups have received it.

The committee strongly recommends mask use in indoor spaces and public transportation, especially now with the increased number of cases. Emphasis will also be placed on boosting COVID-19 vaccination, especially for vulnerable groups, and on the correct and timely use of antiviral medications.

Finally, there is a recommendation for the universal implementation of mask use in healthcare units. The decision on whether the mask will be mandatory is expected to be made by hospital infection committees based on the data they have (cases, hospitalizations, etc.).

In the coming days, there will be an update on vaccination recommendations and a reminder for groups that should receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Lastly, scientists emphasized the need for an information campaign for physicians regarding the use of antiviral medications, which prevent severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, intubation, and death.

Surge in cases

There is widespread concern about the recent surge in infections, especially seasonal flu and COVID-19.

According to the National Public Health Organization (EODY), on Wednesday, December 27, 128 free sample collection actions were carried out at central points in 61 regional units across the country. A total of 9,259 rapid tests were conducted, revealing 1,625 positive cases (17.55%). Of the 1,625 cases, 831 were men and 794 were women, with an average age of 57 years.