The eastern Attica Municipality of Spata-Artemida has leased an airplane to bring back a group of students and teachers from the local high school who are on a trip to France so that they may avoid the return journey by bus via Italy.
The initiative by Mayor Dimitis Markou came in response to concerns over the recent coronavirus outbreak in Italy, where the death toll on Tuesday rose to seven and reported infections jumped to 270 from just six last Friday.
“Our municipality is like a big family and safety is what matters most to us,” Markou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
The students and teachers are expected in Greece on Wednesday, arriving on a direct flight from the southern French resort of Nice. They were originally scheduled to drive across Italy to the port of Ancona to take a ferry across to Greece’s western port of Patra.
“The municipal authority is responsible for offering solutions to problems. The parents were extremely worried, so it was our duty to take the initiative,” the mayor added.
The group, which comprises 75 pupils and five teachers, left on Sunday by air for France, with a five-hour stopover in Milan, where they heard the news of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.