Prompted by a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, Greek authorities have banned ‘panigyria’ celebrations held by village communities to celebrate the feast days of local patron saints.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas noted that the ban will be in place until the end of July.
Petsas also announced that a meeting chaired by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, had made the following decisions:
- To step up targeted random testing at the gateways into the country, with emphasis on the Promachonas border crossing. According to Petsas, out of a total 67.797 tests carried out on arrivals at the country’s borders on July 1-11, 218 had tested positive. The rate at Promachonas, however, was roughly fourfold that of other entrance points, such as the Athens international airport. As of Wednesday, when arrivals have to display certification that they have taken a negative PCR test for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours, there will be an extremely thorough inspection of the documents presented and sanctions if these are inauthentic or forged.
- Tighter controls of the border crossings with Albania, at Kakavia and Krystallopigi.
- Greece will go ahead with the resumption of direct flights from the UK on July 15 and Sweden on July 22, while it will examine the resumption of flights from non-EU countries – such as the US – from the end of July with the submission of a negative PCR test for Covid-19 carried out up to 72 hours before the date of arrival in Greece.
- The infections diseases expert committee was asked to examine possible restrictions to combat laxness in the implementation of Covid-19 protection measures within the country, such as a ban on Paniyiria and festivals, or other events where there is crowding and large numbers of people congregate in close proximity, possibly up to the end of July.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, Deputy Civil Protection and Crises Management Minister Nikos Hardalias and infectious diseases expert Prof. Sotiris Tsiodras.
Meanwhile, Greece announced 24 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, with 4 of these identified at entry points to Greece.
This brings the total number of cases to 3,826.
Of these, 1,007 are related to travel abroad, 2,002 to a known case and the rest are of indeterminate cause.
The number of fatalities from Covid-19 in Greece total 193. The median age of the deceased was 76 years, and most had underlying issues.