NEWS

‘Virus will come back to bite us,’ warns expert

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A US-based virology expert on Friday decried lapses in health safety protocols for travel to the Greek islands, warning that “the virus will come back to bite us if we disregard it.”

“Even though we have the standards, the information, we are opening up without abiding by any standards and this is evident all around you,” Dr George Pavlakis, a senior investigator and head of the Human Retrovirus Section at the American National Cancer Institute, told Mega television on Friday.

Pointing to a recent announcement by the Dutch government that it is putting the islands of the southern Aegean back on its “orange” travel list as of Sunday – meaning that travelers returning from these islands must be quarantined when they return – Pavlakis warned of the risk of large outbreaks at popular holiday destinations and the devastating impact this would have on tourism.

“I sometimes feel that we’re scratching out our own eyes,” he said, citing the example of Kos, which is expecting at least 120,000 tourists from The Netherlands this summer.

Asked whether he believes the ongoing lifting of lockdown restrictions was necessary to give the people “room to breathe,” the Greek expert said “the people can breathe when we become Portugal and beat the third wave.”

“The third wave in Greece rose gradually and has lasted a very long time and now it is receding even more gradually and tortuously,” Pavlakis said. “We have between 50 and 80 deaths every day. A busload of people is being sacrificed every day.”