COVID-19 lockdowns in Greece has seen an increase in narcotic use

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The good course of Athens against COVID-19 is reflected in the measurements of the viral content in the wastewater carried out by a National and Kapodistrian University of Athens professor in chemistry, Nikolaos Thomaidis.

The COVID-19 load in the sewage of Athens is on a downward trajectory, as the professor of Analytical Chemistry, told Sputnik Hellas.

According to the latest measurements, the viral load has been reduced by 50%, proving that the lockdown measures in the capital are working, resulting in a reduction of cases.

"At the moment, Athens is doing very well and the viral load has been reduced a lot. In the last 10 days there has been a very big reduction of over 50% and it seems that the restrictions work in Attica," said the professor.

He also explained that he estimates that the active carriers of COVID-19 according to the last measurement is about 20,000 people.

COVID-19 rapid testing.
COVID-19 testing.

According to the professor, they will proceed with the so-called spatial measurement of wastewater.

"We have not done the spatial measurement yet, we had agreed to do it, but with the pressure of time we have not implemented this part. Now we will take samplers for the whole area," he said.

Quarantine has led to an increase in substance use

Thomaidis and his team, from the first moment of the pandemic in Greece, in addition to the viral load of the virus in the sewage, measures the existence of psychotropic drugs, sedatives, antibiotics and even narcotics.

During the first COVID-19 quarantine period, the results of these measurements were shocking.

Thomaidis said that from March to May 2020 there was an increase of 33% in antidepressants, 77% in anxiolytics and even 60% in cocaine compared to the same period in 2019.

The measurements of these substances in the sewage continue normally from May until today, however due to the huge workload, their processing has now started. Therefore, in the coming days they will be able to announce the data.

Regarding the course of Thessaloniki, where despite the lockdown, cases are still particularly high and no fall is recorded, Thomaidis estimated that the spread of COVID-19 took place in October and was very large.

COVID-19 street cleaning in Thessaloniki.
COVID-19 street cleaning in Thessaloniki.

"My assessment of Thessaloniki is that the spread took place in October and was very large and not controlled. It is important that the measures are respected," he said.

"Maybe the weather conditions do not help because the climate in Northern Greece is colder and wetter than in the south, and this does not help. It is a reason for greater transmission of the virus," he concluded.

Fani Harisi is a correspondent for Sputnik Hellas.