As the National Organization of Public Health (EODY) announced another 270 cases of coronavirus and five new Covid-related deaths on Friday, health authorities also heralded a slew of new restrictive measures for the islands of Zakynthos and Lesvos and the area of Imathia in northern Greece where new spikes have been observed.
Of the 270 new infections announced on Friday, just 26 were among travelers tested at Greece’s borders, airports and ports, with 112 in Attica and 29 in Thessaloniki. The nationwide total of infections is now 9,800 with the death toll at 259.
A particular concern is that people returning from their vacations, particularly at popular tourist resorts, will represent a risk. Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University, on Friday called on returning vacationers, particularly young people, to regard themselves as “silent carriers,” recommending a 7-10 day period of isolation and that they avoid contact with the elderly.
The new restrictions announced on Friday for Zakynthos and Lesvos include a ban on all parties, religious festivals and street markets, while gatherings of more than nine people – either in public or private – are also forbidden. In cafés and restaurants, no more than four people can be seated at any one table (six if those people are first degree relatives). Face masks are mandatory both in enclosed and open-air public areas.
A midnight curfew on cafés, bars and restaurants – already in place in those areas and several other islands – is also to be imposed in Imathia, where a limit of 50 people is to be set on all public gatherings.
Meanwhile measures that apply nationwide, such as the mandatory use of masks in closed areas and social distancing on beaches, were extended for another 14 days.
As authorities continue their efforts to curb the current wave of the pandemic, preparations are already under way for winter, when a new wave could coincide with the seasonal flu.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said procuring a larger number of flu jabs is a priority – authorities have already acquired 4.2 million doses compared to 3.1 millionlast year.