Well, here we are. Just when I was ready to restart positive Crete travel storytelling, carriers of the Delta variant of the coronavirus are now walking around on Crete island, as predicted. The puzzling thing about the recent news is how a new variant of the virus could be getting ready to sweep Greece’s biggest island when plans for reopening tourism being foolproof and all. Have officials been pulling our sleeves? Or is there some miraculous immunology going on?
The other day, University of Crete lung specialist Nikolaos Tzanakis said that the Delta variant already spreading to many parts of Greece will be the dominant strain by August. He also confirmed for SKAI News 15 cases of the Delta variant have been recorded on Crete and that all of those affected were not people who were not vaccinated. So, if the 15 known cases have afflicted unvaccinated people, how did this virus’s strain get here exactly?
Officials in Athens, or I should say the bean counters in charge, have assured the world that Greece is the safest place on the planet to travel to. Therefore, one would think that the chances of a passenger getting on a plane, train, boat, or donkey to Greece without a negative PCR or valid vaccination card would be zero. But, unfortunately, there’s a hole somewhere in Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ Iron Dome impenetrable COVID security system. That is unless the Delta viruses have developed their own air force. I am sure Heraklion being named the homeport of several big cruise liners has nothing whatsoever to do with the spread of Delta Variant!
Oh, but wait! The former banker turned COVID hero is now saying he’ll speed vaccinations rather than doing other restrictive measures. Big surprise, since New Democracy flung open the tourism doors and has begun accepting vaccines from Pepsi Cola to spur visits. The cruise ships are now lined up along the docks here in Heraklion, like never before. Funny thing, there’s nobody at the tavernas we frequent in town. No shoppers. Just buses headed out to Knossos and touristic attractions. Maybe that’s how Delta spread to residents here?
But on to the new “Speedy Vaccination” campaign. My wife’s been trying to get vaccinated for weeks now, and??? You see, even EU citizens who live here who do not have their AMKA yet, they’re in the same no man’s land I was some weeks ago. The system is not just slow; it’s something out of a Bullwinkle cartoon. And Mitsotakis is beginning to look like Pottsylvania’s Fearless Leader (at left), the boss of Boris and Natasha.
Even at-risk ex-pats cannot get protected fast, and the U.S. embassy can’t even help. A long story, but it’s fair to say many have died in Greece because of bureaucratic bullshit and the ludicrous system these last months. More on this once I finally get vaccine No. 2, just before July ends. Yes, a heart patient from America gets vaccinated after Mitsotakis’ cat. Something like that. What a piece of work this guy is. Here’s his genius statesman comment about the new Delta variant of COVID.
“As I said yesterday, those who have been vaccinated are protected; those who have not been vaccinated are in danger.”
Right after that, the Greek prime minister went into zombie computer mode and started bragging about the generally good economic forecast. He also announced the EU hush money would soon begin to trickle down to those in Greece ruined by this pandemic. I am not sure it was appropriate to talk about the Recovery and Resilience Fund kicking in in August, at a moment, immunologists are predicting a more deadly COVID form taking over in the same timeframe. But maybe I am too harsh. He was just answering questions, after all.
A funny situation this is. On Wednesday, Mitsotakis and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos talked about using these EU Recovery Funds to enhance the tourism experience for Greek visitors. The talk at SETE’s 29th General Assembly in Athens brought up a curious fact. If Mitsotakis’ words mean anything, all hospitality workers have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. This makes me wonder just how many have not received the jab?
Maybe this is how Delta Variant came is spreading on Crete? Strange too is that Greece’s PM seems unaware that 15 cases of Delta COVID are already on Crete. He told attendees at this conference Delta has not yet come to Greece in any significant numbers. Maybe his “significant” is different than it is for doctors. I guess we should just not worry about it all. But wait! The National Organization for Public Health (EODY) president said on Thursday that Greece might see the Delta strain of COVID-19 spread very quickly, becoming the dominant strain in the nation by the end of August.
Currently, Heraklion, Crete, has the most cases of Delta recorded in Greece. I will not even get into how operation Blue Freedom bypassed Crete to immunize distant islands first. This deadly comedy is just too sad for words.
Feature image mashup developed from YouTube screenshot and Flickr free use media.