Lockdown extension not being ruled out


As the number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus in Greece rose by 71 to 695 on Monday and with the death toll climbing to 17, the government is reportedly mulling the extension of the lockdown beyond April 6 – which was the initial end date of the measures given on Sunday – to the end of April.

Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said as much while speaking to Skai TV Monday. 

“It is especially crucial to control the spread [of the virus] in the coming period until the end of April,” he said. The scenario of an extension of the lockdown’s duration is also suggested by the fact that the emergency measures for the economy will be in place until April 30. 

Moreover, Gerapetritis also said that the government is moving one day at a time in tandem with the available data on the spread of the coronavirus. 

“There are protocols that correspond to the extent of the cases,” he said. 

A lot will also depend, as the government’s main adviser on the coronavirus Sotiris Tsiodaras said recently, not only on the number of confirmed cases but also on the number of patients who will need treatment in intensive care units.

The Easter holiday is also seen as a pivotal factor that may merit an extension of the lockdown as it is a time of excursions and large gatherings.

What’s more, Gerapetritis not only hinted at an extension of the lockdown, but also suggested that new measures are in the pipeline, such the strict isolation at home of all people belonging to vulnerable groups, as well as a general shutdown of flights.

He did however note that Greece is still far off from the situation in certain other countries. Furthermore, even if the virus spread curve flattens, which is predicted to occur at the end of April, this does not automatically entail a loosening of the measures given the erratic nature of the virus.

Meanwhile in his daily briefing Monday, Tsiodras said that of the 695 cases, 114 people are being treated in hospital, with 35 of them in critical condition.

He said that 74 percent of those intubated have underlying health issues.

Tsiodras also said that, based on epidemiological data, authorities estimate that about 8,000 to 10,000 people in Greece have actually been infected by the coronavirus.