Greece introduces stricter measures in Athens as virus cases surge

Greece introduces stricter measures in Athens as virus cases surge
Greece introduces stricter measures in Athens as virus cases surge
*Image Credit: INTIME

Following a rise in coronavirus infections particularly in the centre of Athens, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias on Friday announced emergency measures that will go into effect on Monday (September 21) and last through October 4.

A daily rate of 3 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents places Attica in the "orange alert" state, Hardalias said, with a steadily rising incidence. The highest rate of infections are noted in the following three groups: private sector employees (29.07%), retirees (13.43%) and unemployed (13.27%).

The new measures, as follows:

  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 9 people, except for areas already regulated, such as restaurants
  • Indoor and outdoor concerts are suspended, as are indoor film screenings
  • Baptisms, weddings and funerals may have a maximum of 20 people in attendance
  • People from vulnerable groups such as migrants who have tested positive to the virus but are asymptomatic will be transferred to hotels and be under medical care there
  • 40% of private and public business employees must work from home
  • Public sector employees must arrive at and depart from work in three stages (at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.)
  • Private sector companies must do the same, but at four stages
  • People 65 or older must limit their social outings for 14 days, and their contacts to immediate family members

Hardalias said that the National Public Health Organization (EODY) will conduct rapid testing for the virus at schools, public transportation and hospitals.

The public should observe three preventative measures to help the effort to control infections:

  • avoiding public gatherings
  • use a mask on public transportation
  • be more vigilant if they belong to older age groups

Citing statistical figures, the minister said that since the outbreak of the pandemic in Greece on February 25, there have been 14,400 people infected by the virus. Of these, 4,084 cases are active to the present day. Furthermore, over 50% of these (2,100) are located in the Attica region, with 263 hospitalized and 1,837 quarantined at home.

Meanwhile, Greece recorded 339 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

This raises the total number of cases to 14,738.

2,541 are considered to be related to travel from abroad and 6,191 are related to an already known case.

Seventy-one individuals are in ICU. Their median age is 69 years, and 20 of them are women. 87.3% have an underlying condition or are aged 70 years and above.

A total of 177 patients have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the pandemic in Greece.

The country’s pandemic death toll stands at 327. The median age of all was 78 years and 96.6% of the deceased had an underlying condition and/or age of 70 years or more.

The rise in coronavirus-related hospitalisations in recent days has prompted the government to increase the number of beds in intensive care units (ICUs), Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis said on Friday.

Kontozamanis said that Greece currently has 931 operational beds in ICUs, with 778 of these in the National Health System hospitals, 32 in military hospitals and the remainder in private hospitals.

Of the 931 beds, 603 are currently occupied. In total, 692 are designated for patients with other than coronavirus ailments, while 239 are specifically for Covid-19 patients. Of the specially designated 239, those currently occupied number 91, he revealed.

In Attica specifically, of a total 337 beds in ICUs in general, 209 beds are currently occupied by non-coronavirus patients. Attica has 89 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, of which 59 are already occupied.

The government is putting into force a plan to expand the ICU capacity for Covid-19 patients in Attica hospitals as follows: 10 beds in "Sotiria" hospital, 4 in the NIMTS hospital, and by the ned of next week another 24 beds distributed to special ICUs in "Asklipio", "Attikon" and elsewhere, the minister said.