The Greek government enlisted two private hospitals in Thessaloniki on Thursday where transmission of the coronavirus has been particularly widespread.
The decision was reached after private clinics failed to voluntarily provide 200 beds for Covid-19 patients despite appeals by the health ministry.
Public hospitals in Thessaloniki and other parts of northern Greece have been struggling to cope with the influx of coronavirus patients, adding beds from other wards and setting up isolation tents after reaching capacity.
The decision to enlist the two hospitals for two weeks means that the state undertakes the administrative management of all beds, premises and facilities of the private clinics, in addition to the administrative supervision of the staff which, starting Friday, will offer its services for public purpose.
According to the head of the Panhellenic Association of Private Clinics, they refused to respond to the invitation because they lack the facilities to isolate Covid-19 patients from others and the expertise and training to deal with the disease.
Private clinics say that they have been accepting non-Covid patients from public hospitals to help them cope with the influx of patients, but were ill-prepared to set up specialized Covid-19 wards.