Greece is ranked 132nd in cases per 1 million inhabitants, says Minister

Greece is ranked 132nd in cases per 1 million inhabitants, says Minister

Greece is ranked 132nd in cases per 1 million inhabitants, says Minister

Greece's Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias stated that despite the increase number of cases reported, the country has a better epidemiological level than many other countries, but if protection measures aren't observed, things will go bad.

He also said that 83% of the coronavirus cases in Greece are domestic and have been caused by citizens not observing the measures in place.

“We are not relaxing the measures. The transmission is due to domestic traffic and non-compliance. The measures for social distances, masks, hygiene measures, schedules must be strictly observed," he added.

According to the data presented by the minister, “Greece is ranked 132nd in the world in cases per one million inhabitants and 108th in deaths per one million inhabitants."

He added that only 17% of cases are imported, noting that tourism is not responsible for the outbreak.

“Is tourism responsible for the rise in cases? No. With the PLF system, the recorded imported cases are 615 in 319,000 checks from July 1 at entrances of the country from which 2,597,000 people have entered,” he explained.

Hardalias said that we are far away from a general lockdown in the cities but more measures will be assumed when necessary. He reiterated that “we are seeing an increase in cases among young people” and clarified that “we do not discriminate in areas. The measures are for the protection of the residents and the vacationers “.

“Any relaxation opens the door to the virus. Let’s not help the virus spread. The way to close the door is to follow the measures,” the minister continued.

On his part, Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis said if 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.

He also referred to media reports claiming that the actual numbers of coronavirus cases has been concealed. "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, he 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.

Last week, in response to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Greece, Hardalias announced additional protection measures.

The new measures are:

  • All restaurants, bars and catering businesses will close from 00:00 until 07:00 in the region of Attica, the islands of the Saronic Gulf and the island of Kythira until August 24
  • 50 person-limit in all public and social events except those in which special protection measures are applied as restaurants, theatres, cinemas, until August 24 at the epidemiologically burdened areas
  • The whole package of measures applied on Poros is extended to the island of Paros and Antiparos until August 24. These measures ban any congregation over 9 persons for any reason in public and private areas and four-person limit per table except for families and mandatory use of face masks throughout the island in both outdoor and indoor areas
  • The measures on Poros island are extended to August 24
  • Mandatory use of face masks in military camps, migrants and refugees hosting facilities and solidarity structures
  • Civil servants and private sector employees belonging to vulnerable groups will work from home or back office until August 31.

Additionally, Hardalias urged for the use of face masks to people returning home from holidays in highly burdened areas and recommended the use of face mask at all indoors facilities. when the necessary distance is not possible to be kept.

Authorities are also carrying out randomised tests for the novel coronavirus on travellers returning to Athens from holidays at the ports of Piraeus and Rafina.

Greece recorded 269 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

This raises the total number of cases to 7,472.

1,742 are considered to be related to travel from abroad and 3,516 are related to an already known case.

Twenty-five individuals are in ICU. Their median age is 67 years.

Another 137 have been discharged from ICUs since the first outbreak in Greece.

The country’s pandemic death toll stands at 232. The median age of all was 77 years and 95.3% had an underlying condition and/or were 70 years old or older.