Confirmed coronavirus cases in Greece reach 2,145; ‘Let us remain vigilant’

A total of 335 representative samples for coronavirus were collected on Sunday at the Roma community in Drosero, Xanthi, where a baby girl now hospitalized in critical condition lived, Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias reiterated on Monday, during the daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking after Health Ministry novel coronavirus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras, Hardalias said that the samples collected on Sunday were distributed in three labs and the results are pending. The Roma community, one of the largest in Greece, is in a region “with a heavy virus load” he said, and the mayors, health services and local officials were called into a meeting after he and Tsiodras visited the area.

Families alone

Addressing the public, the minister again repeated his message that churches will be closed to the public during Greek Orthodox Easter Week, and urged families to celebrate Easter (April 19) just with those they live with, instead of inviting friends and relatives over. Criticizing two church officials for disregarding the law and the Church of Greece directives, he said that “some people ought to understand they are not more faithful Christians than others.”

Retirement homes

Speaking of the Nea Makri retirement home that was placed in quarantine after positive coronavirus cases found there, the minister said that all retirement homes in the Attica region traced to coronavirus-positive people were being continuously checked by authorities to ensure they are following directions. Hardalias also warned retirement home administrators to keep directives and be particularly strict with visitors, because violations would be considered as “threats to life”.

Northern Greece

Communities in northern Greece (Kastoria and Xanthi areas) under lockdown will continue to remain so preventatively until the end of April, he noted, while Echinos in Xanthi and Foustani in Pella, under quarantine, will go back to normality on Tuesday. He thanked the residents of the two villages and the local authorities for their help.

Wrapping up, Hardalias warned against relaxing any measures, saying that “nothing has been concluded,” and multiple smaller hotbeds of virus epidemic breakouts anywhere in Greece “will set us back.” He added, “We have come a long way so far, let us continue.”

Still under emergency

Controlling the coronavirus outbreak in Greece is an accomplishment credited to all citizens for observing preventive and restrictive measures that were implemented in a timely manner, said infectious diseases professor Sotiris Tsiodras on Monday evening.

In this context, he stressed that the country is still under an emergency, and any relaxation of measures would be disastrous. “A fire that is being slowly put out should not be rekindled,” he underlined, referring to the successful efforts so far to contain the pandemic.

At the daily televised update on the outbreak’s latest figures, where he also answers press queries, the Health Ministry’s coronavirus spokesman said, “Accept our deep gratitude for having endured [the measures], and for continuing to endure, all of us, together.”

Immunity

He emphasized that protecting the country’s elderly population from exposure to the coronavirus is one of the health authorities’ priorities. In the last 48 hours, he said, teams from the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) and Civil Protection visited nursing homes and healthcare facilities for the elderly in Athens, where the virus spread regardless of the diligent observance of restrictions in movement outside family homes.

Tsiodras also said that despite South Korean indications otherwise, the disease is likely to create antibodies in people, and he said that when large-scale antibody testing begins in the near future, it may lead to pleasant surprises in the number of people who have acquired immunity.

Monday stats

The professor also announced 31 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 2,145. Of these, 25.8 pct were infected abroad and 40 pct in Greece.

Deaths total 99 since the start of the outbreak, of whom 26 were women, while an 89 pct had underlying health issues or their average age was 70 or over.

Some 73 patients are being treated in Intensive Care Units. The average age of these patients is 68 years, 17 of these are women, while an 81 pct of all ICU patients have underlying health issues or are at least 70 years of age.

A total of 16 people have so far been discharged from ICUs.

So far 43,417 diagnostic lab tests for Covid-19 have been carried out nationwide.