NEWS

State braces for spread of coronavirus as caution urged

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Coronavirus, Politics

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met over the weekend with Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and other key cabinet ministers, as well as with health experts, to discuss the state’s evolving response to the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), including measures to bolster public safety and the economy to the greatest degree possible.

As experts warn that the coming weeks will bring a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Greece, government officials are preparing for the second phase of the virus, its broader spread through society.

The measures being considered include the allocation of entire wards at public hospitals and the use of private clinics for the treatment of patients, as resources at public hospitals are expected to become stretched in due course.

Currently, 15 hospitals across the country are on standby to treat patients who test positive for the coronavirus, though that number is likely to increase as the virus spreads. Each of those hospitals have between two and four negative pressure chambers where infected patients are treated in isolation.

The aim of health officials is to contain the virus, with tests being conducted on all those who have been in close contact with the positive cases. Meanwhile experts are urging the public to contribute to the state’s efforts and display caution in their hygiene routine.

EODY on Saturday announced the launch of a telephone hotline, 1135, for information about the virus.

In a joint article in Sunday’s Kathimerini, Angelos Hatzakis and Vana Sypsa, both professors of epidemiology at Athens University, expressed the view that the epidemic in Greece will likely reach its peak in late April or early May.

According to Jenny Kremastinou, of the National School of Public Health, the key objects people should be most wary of in attempting to protect themselves include door handles (particularly on public transportation), television remote controls, keyboards (particularly at bank ATMs,) elevator buttons and bank notes. The best solution, experts say, is the frequent washing of one’s hands.

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