CORONAVIRUS

Thessaloniki back in spotlight as cases rise

thessaloniki-back-in-spotlight-as-cases-rise

Greek health experts are closely monitoring coronavirus transmission figures in Thessaloniki, as new cases in the northern port city increased by 28% last week compared with the week before that, and nearly doubled on a daily basis from March 22.

According to reports on Tuesday, experts estimate that the number of active cases in the city of roughly 800,000 people currently stands at 2,000 at least, with occupancy at Thessaloniki’s Covid-19 intensive care wards reaching 90% in recent days.

The city on Monday accounted for 245 of the country’s total of 1,866 new cases. On the same day last week, March 29, it had recorded 241 new cases, up from 130 on Monday, March 22.

The steady rise in transmission is expected to be at the center of a visit to northern Greece on Tuesday by Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis, who will be meeting with the directors of the city’s public hospitals, the head of the EKAV ambulance service and the general secretary for health services. Kontozamanis will then travel to the region of Kozani, where cases have also been rising in recent weeks.

Speaking on Mega TV earlier on Tuesday, the regional governor of Central Macedonia decried recent scenes of over-crowding in Thessaloniki recently and urged residents to abide by social distancing and mask-wearing rules. 

“The numbers show an increase in cases and we are very concerned about the next few days,” said Apostolos Tzitzikostas.

“We need to be careful because we are still in the middle of the health crisis,” he added, saying that violations of rules aimed at safeguarding public health are “unacceptable.”

Thessaloniki was at the epicenter of the second wave of the pandemic in the fall, accounting for the majority of daily fatalities and hospital admissions.