January 10, 2021

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New Covid-19 data recommends facial covering; children less susceptible to disease, Tsiodras asserts

The obligatory use of facial masks or covers once restrictions are gradually rolled back as of May 4 follows the most recent data on the Covid-19 pandemic, the Health Ministry’s novel coronavirus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said on Wednesday.

During the daily briefing, Tsiodras defended the introduction of obligatory facial covering in closed spaces and mass transportation, compared to the start of the epidemic in Greece, when masks for the public were not recommended.

He said that “now conditions are new and the use of a mask is for the purposes of not transmitting the virus, not to avoid contracting it.”

The infectious diseases professor was categorically against the use of medical masks (i.e. with valves) by the public, warning that they could create more infection problems. “You can make a mask at home from cloth material,” he said, highlighting however their proper care and use.

EODY directions
Directions and recommendations will be posted online shortly by the National Public Health Organization (EODY), he stressed.

Speaking of the rapidly changing data on the new coronavirus and its different behavior compared to known viruses, Tsiodras said that Covid-19 has forced medical and health authorities be “in a dance of uncertainty, following common sense.”

A great part of his briefing was spent assuaging the fears of parents of young children over the return to society and possibly the educational system.

Children

Citing European Center for Disease Prevention and Control data on SARS and MERS, which belong to the coronavirus family, he noted the following, concerning children: Children contract the disease at much lower frequency than adults; their symptoms are fewer and milder; the percentage of children to the total population that have contracted the disease is less than 1 pct (Chinese data); the greatest source of contracting the disease is the family of the child; and they are multiple times less likely to contract the virus from people aged 20 and above, and even less so by people 60 years or above.

“It is impossible for children to be at the forefront of disease dispersal,” Tsiodras asserted, adding the necessity of having children return to normalcy and to daily life in society.

Total infections 2,576

Tsiodras on Wednesday evening announced 10 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Greece in the last 24 hours, and one new death.

The Covid-19 infections total in Greece stands at 2,576.

Fatalities stand at 139 since the start of the outbreak; 36 of them were women. Of the 139, a 91.4 pct had underlying health issues and/or their average age was 70 years or more. The average age of all the deceased was 74 years of age.

Some 41 patients are being treated in Intensive Care Units and 12 of these are women. An 88 pct of ICU patients have underlying health issues and/or are over 70 years of age.

A total of 71 people have so far been discharged from ICUs.

Some 72,130 Covid-19 diagnostic tests have been carried out in Greece since the start of the outbreak.

Hardalias on public outings

Now that the lockdown measures are cautiously and gradually being rolled back, “we are all responsible for our behavior in public, because we will be leaving home more often,” Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Wednesday.

“Leaving home to go out will be more difficult than staying home,” he warned, as the public has to be more vigilant and follow the basic rules of hygiene and social distancing.

During the daily briefing, Hardalias spoke of “the day after” lockdown, reminding the public that until Monday, May 4, the public had to observe the current measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The messaging service would continue and excursions of groups to the outdoors banned, as is travel to the holiday homes over the weekend.

Hardalias also repeated that facial covering or masks will be obligatory as of Monday on public transportation, at stores serving customers (both staff and clientele), at supermarkets and food providers, at beauty centers and hairdressers, in taxis, and at hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Details for use of masks will be shortly available through the site of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), he stressed.

Among other issues, Hardalias said that the Public Power Corporation Unit 5 at Ptolemaida, northern Greece, would remain shut until May 17. All arrivals from abroad are checked at the airport continually, and of 514 passengers who arrived in the last two days on 6 flights, 9 people tested positive to the virus. The rest are allowed to quarantine at home, he said.
“Let us show responsibility and care for the common good,” so there is no reintroduction of measures, he urged, of the gradually relaxing restriction measures.

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