A 76-year-old monk in Mount Athos died of Covid-19 last Saturday while six monasteries on the peninsula have been placed in quarantine, the monastic community’s civil governor said on Wednesday.
“The situation is under control. A total of six μonasteries are currently in quarantine, which is in fact coming to an end. Several cases of infections among monks have been reported recently,” Athanasios Martinos told a local news website.
Asked whether the monks living in the monasteries and cells where a total of 1,200-1,300 and 400-500 people live, respectively, are implementing the measures to stop the spread of the virus in, he admitted that this didn’t happen in all cases, resulting in some monasteries being overrun by infections.
Martinos said there are currently seven monks being treated in hospitals in Thessaloniki and Polygyros, one of which has underlying health issues.
“Recently, several infections appeared and so checks began at the entrance gates. So far, three positive tests have been identified, one sailor and two workers, who were asymptomatic and were not allowed to enter,” he said.
The monasteries and the local health centre had been provided with rapid antigen tests, which were conducted on those who showed symptoms or were assessed as possible cases.
Greek authorities banned visits to the monastic community on December 7, after several infections were reported. However, entry is allowed to those employed in ongoing projects as well as to civil servants working there.