Health Ministry spokesperson Professor Sotiris Tsiodras on Wednesday announced that there were zero deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.
During his daily televised briefing, Greece’s most popular public figure said it is “a great relief for us to not be talking about deaths, but about lives being saved instead,” adding that the government’s timely preventive and restrictive measures reduced the spread of the virus in the community by a projected 80%
Measures lifted gradually
The infectious diseases specialist expressed the country’s “tremendous success” in the containment of Covid-19, and insisted that “Greece must gradually reopen.” He warned however that the disease “will never be entirely obliterated,” and that restrictive measures would be tailored at local level if an infection outbreak occurred again in some parts of the country.
In about 7 or 15 days health authorities will be able to assess the virus’ dispersal in the community “with great certainty”, and from there they will continue to assess the situation but on a weekly or biweekly basis. Laboratory testing at regular intervals will also inform decisions concerning the cautious and gradual lifting of measures, he said, pointing out that gradually the early and certain diagnosis and the understanding of the virus’ behaviour will improve.
On reopening schools
Tsiodras admitted that the Health Ministry’s task force had been reviewing lifting restrictive measures for schools. Because of the complexity of factors, however, such as infected family members or family members who belong in vulnerable groups, the decision to reopen educational institutions needs further review. He estimated that the contribution of school shutdowns in the overall success of containing the infection amounted to 15-20 pct of all measures.
Regarding mass immunity, he said that “gradually we will all be exposed to the virus. What we have avoided is that we all get sick together,” an experience that other European countries had, stressing their health systems and leading to more deaths.