The government imposed stricter measures in three regions including Attica as of Saturday, following a steep rise in infections this past week, that included longer curfews and a ban on in-store visits for clothing and shoe retailers, both on weekends.
At a live briefing on the pandemic, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said that curfew in Attica, Attica, Thessaloniki and Chalkidiki peninsula would start at 18:00 on Saturday (instead of 21:00-05:00 during the week) and retailers will operate by e-orders only (“click-away”). Pick-ups will be still allowed, but in-store presence on Saturdays is banned.
Retailers and personal care services (hairdressers, beauty salons) will open Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 20:00; only pharmacies, super markets, bakeries and petrol stations will open on weekends, from 07:00 to 17:00.
The three large regions, as well as the five regions of Patras, Chalkida, Mykonos, Santorini and Aghios Nikolaos in Crete, are all under strict epidemiological monitoring, said the minister, following a surge in infections. Added to the “red alert” regions on Friday were those of Rethymno on Crete, Pydna/Kolindros in Macedonia, Dirfii/Messapies in Evia, Andravida/Kyllini in the Peloponnese, and Tempi near Larissa.
In all but the three regions named above, retail stores will shut down. Only supermarkets, grocers and pharmacies will be allowed to operate over the next 10 days.
The stricter measures will come into effect for all regions on Saturday and remain in effect until February 15.
Major dispersion within multi-generational families
A sudden rise in new coronavirus infections in Attica Region and Thessaloniki are a great cause of concern and have alarmed authorities, Vana Papaevangelou, specialist on the Health Ministry’s coronavirus committee, said on Friday before new restrictions were announced.
During the briefing that was delayed from its usual 18:00, Papaevangelou said that other cities like Patras and Chalkida in Evia also showed a great dispersion of Sars-CoV-2 virus.
Following data on a record number of tests done in a single day (46,000 on Friday), the pediatric infectious diseases specialist said that the weekly rolling median over last week was 625 infections per day, while this week the median rose to 892 per day. The majority of new infections relate to the age group of 25-44.
It now appears that “as we are speaking, we have dispersal within families,” she said. “That means, as contact tracing shows, that parents infect children and adults over 65 years of age,” she noted, speaking of three generations sharing housing.
Papaevangelou also noted that current active infections are over 8,500 throughout Greece, while that 77 percent of those hospitalized currently are over 55 years old.
There are in addition 1,600 people hospitalized currently with Covid-19, an average of 150 people being admitted to hospital daily on national level. In Attica, she said, there are 70 and 80 Covid-19 admissions a day, based on this past week’s data.