NEWS

Ιnspections to be upped after spike in cases

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU, PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Coronavirus, Health

Amid concern about an increase in reported infections of Covid-19, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday convened a meeting of some of his ministers to discuss how authorities can enforce the health and safety regulations that have accompanied the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions more effectively. 

The move came after health authorities announced 108 new cases since last Thursday, with 52 cases recorded on Monday alone, the highest daily rate since April 23. 

Meanwhile, two weeks after the Health Ministry stopped its daily media briefings on developments concerning the pandemic, the National Health Organization (EODY) will henceforth issue daily written updates. 

During the cabinet meeting, which was also attended by Sotiris Tsiodras, the epidemiologist advising the government on its response to the pandemic, it was decided that checks will be intensified while new measures might be imposed to deal with localized spikes if necessary.

The inspections are expected to focus on bars as well as public transport and ferries. A new blanket lockdown is not expected. 

The government is keen to ensure that health protocols are being observed to the greatest extent possible ahead of the further opening of Greece’s borders to tourists on June 15. 

But there are concerns about the stance of some businesses, particularly at popular summer destinations such as Mykonos, where a popular beach bar was closed for two months and slapped with a 20,000-euro fine after it allowed overcrowding. 

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters that the fines issued over the long weekend were not confined to Mykonos and that checks in other areas had revealed violations.

Over the coming days, officials will unveil “a plan to shield our tourism sector from possible imported cases of coronavirus,” he said. “We have not finished with the coronavirus,” he said, adding that the government is “ready to intervene wherever and whenever necessary.” 

Testing is to continue in Xanthi, where a relatively large number of cases was recorded in recent days though the situation is regarded as manageable.

There is greater concern about the 30 foreign travelers who arrived in Greece since last Thursday, from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the US, and tested positive.  

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