A woman takes an eye test at a shop in Glyfada suburb, near Athens, on Saturday. [Yorgos Karahalis/AP]
With stricter measures imposed by the authorities last week following a new spike in infections of Covid-19, health experts say the risk of a second wave of the pandemic is significant.
“It’s clear that the first wave of the pandemic in our country ended in early June,” Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University, told Kathimerini.
“For us to speak of a second wave we will have to see an exponential increase in cases, that is a sudden increase with a doubling of infections in a short period of time and an increase in very serious cases in intensive care units,” he said.
“If cases begin to exceed 100 from next week, we can say we are on the brink of a second wave,” he said, estimating the probability of that happening at 70 percent.
Although the steady increase of cases last week fueled enough concern for authorities to reintroduce the mandatory use of face masks in public places, experts point to one reassuring development: unsourced cases – namely infections whose origin cannot be determined – remain at around 10 to 12 daily. If this rate increases significantly, however, authorities will face a serious challenge in controlling the spread of the disease.
As part of a new crackdown by authorities, face masks became compulsory in all public indoor spaces as of last Saturday. The mask requirement applies to churches too, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said last week, while also strongly recommending face coverings in crowded outdoor areas.
The maximum number of guests allowed to attend weddings and christenings is to be capped at 100, and a ban on religious festivals has been extended to August 31.