Greek scientists are increasingly concerned by the "orphan" domestic incidents of Covid-19, combined with the increase in imported cases and a "relaxation" in personal protective measures, infectious diseases expert Dr. Panagiotis Gargalianos stated during an interview with the ANA.
"We are at the point where there starts to be great concern over domestic 'orphan' cases. The next two weeks will be decisive for us to see what will happen in August," Gargalianos said, urging people to step up personal protection, wear face masks and avoid large gatherings.
The president of the Hellenic Society for Infectious Diseases and a member of the Greek committee of experts for the coronavirus, Gargalianos said focus was now in northern Greece due to its proximity with countries with a higher epidemiological load, especially in Thessaloniki, but also in Attica.
"If we start to see a rise in cases in areas where we had no or just one or two cases, then the alarm will sound," Gargalianos said, stressing the need to record cases throughout the country.
He said that Greece was seeing an increase of cases, including cases not linked to travel or other known cases, and more people admitted with severe forms of the virus. Without a vaccine or especially effective treatment, Greece could experience the same problems as Israel and other countries if the virus were allowed to get out of hand, he pointed out.
"The [rate of spread of the] virus worldwide, instead of slowing down, is accelerating its pace. Millions of people have been infected and are being infected every day and, unfortunately, deaths in many countries are increasing. This is worrying," he said.
The recommendation of the experts, Gargalianos told ANA, was that the use of a mask must be more extensive, especially in indoor areas, while people must carefully observe hygiene rules and avoid congregating, even outdoors. "When many people congregate somewhere, even in the open air, they face a significant level of danger," he added.
Many people ignored the recommendation to wear masks or wore them in the wrong way, creating a false sense of security. "The nose cannot be left uncovered, this is tragic," he pointed out.
He emphasised the need to inform the public and ensure the messages were understood, in order to stay safe and reduce the spread of the disease. "We want Greeks to understand that we don't want and that there will not be a lockdown. We want logic to prevail, however, so that we avoid crowding. We didn't say people mustn't go out and have fun but there must be a degree of care and caution. We cannot ignore the advice to wear masks and leave it dangling or leave our nose uncovered," he said.
Meanwhile, Greece reported 19 new coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
This raises the total number of cases to 3,983.
The death toll currently stands at 194. The median age of the deceased was 76 years, and most had underlying issues.