The total number of the new coronavirus cases in Greece has risen to 31, after 21 more people who came in contact with the country’s ninth confirmed case tested positive, Greek Health Ministry spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said in press briefing on Thursday.
Nine of the new patients were being treated in a hospital in Rio, a suburb of Patras, with three of them showing serious symptoms, he told journalists.
Due to the number of new cases, the region of Amaliada, in western Greece, is entering Phase 2 of the ministry's health risk containment strategy, which means that official measures will now focus on containing the virus from spreading to the rest of the country.
The new cases emerged as health authorities traced and tested everyone believed to have come into close contact with the 65-year-old Greek man who is being treated at an isolation unit at a hospital in Patras, western Greece.
These contacts include 53 people who had traveled on the same bus as him during a recent religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt.
According to sources, the man is being treated for a serious respiratory infection. The 65-year-old’s wife has also tested positive and was the tenth reported case.
Tsiodras said doctors have tested 21 of the man’s fellow travellers and identified more than 400 of his contacts and tested those who were deemed suspicious. Authorities are also tracing all the contacts of the new cases.
At the same time, he said authorities expect a “significant increase” in the number of confirmed cases in the coming weeks and urged citizens to “adhere religiously” to the preventive measures announced by the experts.