A recent spike in coronavirus cases in Greece is cause for concern, Sotiris Tsiodras, representative of the Health Ministry on the novel coronavirus, and Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias both said, in an extraordinary televised meeting.
Sotiris Tsiodras pointed out that Greece’s health authorities will continue to implement a strategy of increased checks and inspections to ensure that Greek citizens continue to observe measures diligently.
The infectious diseases professor said that over the last two months Covid-19 cases have clearly affected younger people, even though the majority of these patients are asymptomatic. Imported cases are also on the rise, he said, because the country reopened to tourism on June 15.
He insisted, however, on the fact that domestic cases are on the rise, and said that “young people need to understand that although they are rarely severely affected, we only partially understand the full range of long-term manifestations of the virus.”
Even though the current increase in cases has not put extraordinary pressure on the national health system, there is also a noticeable rise in ICU patients, the doctor noted, and warned that the “situation can quickly get out of hand.”
Evidently, the coronavirus “is spreading in the summer just as easily,” he said, “and we don’t yet have immunity,” as less than 1 pct of the population has so far been infected,” according to three different antibody studies, he stressed.
The professor then announced Tuesday’s stats, as Greece registered 121 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, with 5 of the new cases confirmed during checks at the country’s air and land entry points. No deaths were reported.
Of the new cases, 5 were detected at the country’s air and land entry points, while 26 were detected in Attica region and 47 in Thessaloniki region. Another 14 regions in Greece registered less than 10 new cases each.
The number of all cases totals 4,855 (54.6 pct men), of which 1,325 are connected to travel abroad and 2,403 to already known cases. At least 650 of the total case are still active.
Thirteen individuals are intubated in hospitals, of whom three are women. Their median age is 70 years, while a 69.2 pct has an underlying health condition or are aged 70 or over. A total of 129 patients have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the outbreak in Greece in January 2020.
Fatalities stand at 209 since the pandemic broke out in Greece, of whom 67 were women, and the median age of all the deceased was 76 years. A 95.7 pct of all the deceased faced an underlying health issue or was aged 70 or over.
Some 599,709 diagnostic tests for Covid-19 have been carried out in Greece since January 1, of which 6,796 (1.13 pct) were positive (including rechecks of same people).
Hardalias on measures
“We do not have to be here every afternoon, as we are not in lockdown,” Hardalias said, referring to the frequent briefings that ended on May 26. “If you see us go live every day with Mr. Tsiodras, that means things have become difficult again.”
Hardalias reiterated that the televised session was held because of “signs of concern” and because “we want to ask everyone to pay attention, and to describe clearly the situation and facts.”
The new coronavirus-related measures that were announced include restrictions on entry to Greece through the Kakavia border post with Albania, and continued restrictions on large gatherings.
Kakavia border will be shut down every night at 23:00 to the next morning at 07:00 in order to improve daily traffic control, Hardalias said. The measure will go into effect at 07:00 on Wednesday, and will be accompanied by staff permanently installed at the border for sample testing.
People entering Greece from Kakavia in Albania will be obliged as of August 16 to observe a preventative seven-day confinement at home.
Other measures Hardalias announced include the extension of a ban on more than 100 guests at social events through August, and more frequent inspections of food-processing and packing factories.
He also said that the Civil Protection secretariat will be able to restrict the hours of entertainment venues at local level, depending on the epidemiological threat.
“Relaxing vigilance and phenomena of observing measures loosely are the enemy in the battle against the pandemic,” Hardalias stressed. This has led to many new outbreaks in several regions of Greece, he said, particularly at urban centers.
He also observed that “besides the low observation of measures, as a society we also have to fight irrational and conspiracy theories that undermine the social responsibility we must all show,” and said that ahead of the major holiday of August 15, all health measures need to be observed.