After three years of pandemic and measures to protect public health from the risk of spreading the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, covid-19 is coming to an end as a public health emergency, with the lifting of the last measures.

The indicators show a clear improvement and the development shows a complete recession in the coming months, as the levels of immunity in the population are at their highest, Gikas Majorkinis, assistant professor of epidemiology, EKPA and member of the expert committee of the Ministry of Health, emphasizes to APE-MPE. He emphasizes, however, that the virus will remain “we have learned to live with it, but it does not affect us as it did at the beginning” and calls for the continued attention of vulnerable population groups.

“If the situation continues as we see it developing logically, we will have a complete recession in the coming months, as the immunity levels in the population are very high, the hybrid immunity (vaccination and disease) exceeds 90%. The virus has not weakened, but we have increased immunity against the various forms of the virus. Of course, the mutation of SARS-COV-2 “Omicron” is less pathogenic than the previous mutations”, emphasizes Mr. Majorkinis. As for the evolution of the pandemic, he states that “a certain prediction for the possible appearance of another strain cannot be made, however in recent months it does not seem possible to create such a situation as we had in the previous phases, where every 2 to 3 months we had a new strain of concern’.

The three reasons that led to the lifting of restrictive measures

Mr. Majorkinis explains to APE-MPE the rationale of the expert committee’s recommendation on Wednesday, March 14 for the lifting of restrictive measures with the exception of public and private health structures and Elderly Care Units.

“The fact that now the epidemic has passed to a fairly predictable level, in all parts of the world the measures have been lifted, there has been no pressure on the health system for a very long time in relation to covid-19, which is also the point where the need arises from the principle of proportionality, to have horizontal measures in areas with vulnerable populations, the committee made a positive recommendation to the question raised by the Ministry of Health regarding the lifting of the measures, except for Hospitals”.

The lifting of the measures concerns the mandatory use of masks on public transport, the weekly rapid test of unvaccinated workers in the public and private sector.

As Mr. Majorkinis explains, the isolation for patients remains, it is simply done with a classic sick leave from the doctor.

Protection measures will continue to apply in public and private health facilities and Elderly Care Units. That is, wearing a mask, carrying out a diagnostic test for unvaccinated healthcare workers using a rapid detection of the antigen of the coronavirus COVID-19 (rapid test) at their own expense and the measures for patients and visitors.

Protection of vulnerable groups

The need to protect vulnerable groups against Covid-19 remains as the virus will be with us, we do not forget that, and for this reason it is recommended that personal protection measures, up-to-date vaccination and antiviral treatment be taken for those who are ill. Mr. Majorkinis makes a special mention of the immunocompromised, who, as he says, should be more careful. But there are solutions, and they should turn to their doctors to gain access to the best possible therapeutic and pharmaceutical solutions. What is always recommended to this population group, concludes Mr. Majorkinis, is to take the appropriate precautions themselves and their environment.