Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held a meeting with health officials to discuss the alarming spike in cases that was reported yesterday.
The Health Ministry announced yesterday that there were 97 new coronavirus cases since Thursday— 52 in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily increase the country has seen since April 23.
According to the Athens News Agency (ANA), the prime minister announced the intensification of checks throughout the country, as well as additional measures in localities where cases are popping up.
The country has entered the sixth phase of its re-opening with most businesses open and running normally. Although masks are required on public transportation and in various indoor environments, there is much complacency amongst a quarantine-weary nation that was forced– by law– to stay indoors for two months.
A government minister was grilled on Twitter when he appeared at a statue unveiling in Pireaus with people clamoring to take a photo.
The photograph of Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis (center, blue suit) with crowds of onlookers and supporters went viral on various social media platforms with many users asking why there was a double standard with the government’s messaging.
Meanwhile, a beach club on the island of Mykonos was shut down and imposed a hefty fine after images of crowds appeared on social media.
A top professor and epidemiologist warned that “the coronavirus is here and striking back” in an interview with the ANA.
“There is no room for laxity and complacency. The coronavirus is here and striking back,” said Athena Linou, a professor of epidemiology at the Athens University Medical School and president of the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental & Occupational Health, Prolepsis, talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
“Non-compliance with individual hygiene and protection measures and irresponsible behaviors strengthen the virus transmission chain,” she underlined, adding that the latest data shows an “alarming increase in cases relatively early on.”
“At the beginning of the epidemic, when we had 2-3 cases, it took 3 to 4 weeks (from the end of February to March 20-22) to reach 30 cases a day, but now it seems that time has been reduced. This means that the relaxation of the measures by many of our fellow citizens has led to a rapid dispersal and this will be difficult to control if it continues at this pace,” she explained.
She was also concerned because the cases were “scattered throughout the country.”
“When the epidemic started the cases were focused on people who had visited from the Holy Land. Now we have multiple cases in many parts of the country. People who get sick come in contact with a lot of people and this creates opportunities for the resumption of the epidemic and makes it difficult to trace the contacts,” she underlined.
“If we do not take any protection measures in a month, the number of cases will have multiplied. On the contrary, if we take protection measures, the situation can be fully controlled.”
She also raised the alarm, stressing that the problem is caused by behaviors. “Tourism alone cannot be a problem. It is our behavior that changes the situation and can create a big explosion.”
Featured photo: Medical staff of the National Health Organization (EODY) conduct tests for the new coronavirus on the Aegean Sea island of Folegandros, Greece, on Monday, May 25, 2020. EODY and the non-for-profit Organization Symplefsi, organized a two-day mission to perform COVID-19 tests including vulnerable residents on four remote Greek islands. Greece restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday, and cafes and restaurants were also back open for business as the country accelerated efforts to salvage its tourism season. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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