Aegean isles on shaky ground as Covid cases rise

Aegean isles on shaky ground as Covid cases rise

As Greece’s south Aegean islands became marked in “dark red” on the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s Covid-19 map Thursday, with non-essential travel discouraged, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias stressed that popular destinations such as Ios and Mykonos in particular are on the brink of being placed under a new round of restrictions.

Speaking to ANT1 TV on Friday, Hardalias underlined that the situation on the two islands is borderline. Mykonos was of particular concern as Covid variants have been detected on the island.

He added that 46% of Covid-19 cases, those infected were employees of restaurants, clubs and hotels.

Hardalias said no island could act with “impunity.”

“We don’t want to demonize any island, nor are we targeting anyone, but it is not possible for them not to keep their distance and not to wear masks,” Hardalias noted.

Any new restrictions would be similar to those imposed on Mykonos two weeks ago, which included a curfew and a round-the-clock ban on music in bars, cafes and restaurants.

“The situation requires caution; the virus is among us,” he said during Thursday’s daily public briefing.

Hardalias added that the islands of Zakynthos, Tinos, Lefkada, Santorini, Paros and Rhodes have also been placed under increased surveillance as they have experienced a steady increase in cases over the last 10 days.

He called on local authorities and visitors to observe personal protection measures and safety protocols, especially in areas with a high transmission rate.

In response to a recent relaxation in the implementation of the measures, the government official expressed disappointment because certain people who are not observing safety measures “are playing with their lives.”

“And the bad thing is that some people are playing with the lives of others. And I do not know whether this is morally tolerable,” he said. 

Meanwhile, health authorities said they expect a moderate but clear increase in new cases as well as intubations of Covid-19 patients next week.

Thursday, they confirmed 2,696 new cases nationwide – but with a record 102,000 tests – and nine Covid-related deaths. The number of intubated patients was 157, while the number of new hospital admissions was 173.

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