Hardalias: Tourism not responsible for new coronavirus cases

We are at a better epidemiological level than many other countries but if we do not observe the protection measures, things will go bad, stated Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias at a press briefing on Tuesday on the course of the coronavirus in Greece.

Hardalias said that 83 percent of the new incidents are domestic and are the result of high congregation and only 17 percent are imported adding that tourism is not responsible for the outbreak.

He said that we are far away from a general lockdown in the cities but horizontal measures will be assumed whenever necessary.

“The pandemic does not show any decline signs and a special protocol will be announced in the next days for the working places and for the opening of schools” Hardalias said.

Vaccination priority

Ιf a COVID-19 vaccine is created and arrives in Greece at the end of the year, priority in inoculations will be given to specific groups of people, especially the most vulnerable ones, Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis said at a joint press briefing with Hardalias on Tuesday.

Referring to media reports claiming that the actual numbers of coronavirus cases has been concealed, he said that “we are not hiding any infection cases,” and underlined that the government “will not allow the relation of trust we have built with citizens to be shattered.”

The minister said that “a new health system is being built during the pandemic,” adding that “we are returning to normality with a strengthened health system, after having managed the epidemic successfully.” Kontozamanis also announced that a process to hire 1,650 nurses and 400 other specialized jobs in ICUs will begin early in September.
Referring to the number of ICU beds, Kontozamanis said that the health system had 557 beds when this government took over and a year later the number of operational beds rose to 901. Of these, 186 are specifically for COVID-19 patients, and more can be added if necessary. The Health Ministry’s aim is to have 1,200 ICU beds by the end of the year.