Experts concerned over spike in infections

Experts concerned over spike in infections

Experts are urging citizens to try harder to observe health protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus following a spike in infections and as Greece prepares to open its borders to tourists. 

Health authorities are particularly concerned about reports of widespread flouting of health and safety regulations over the long weekend, including overcrowding in bars and on ferries.

The impact of that complacency will be clear by the end of next week if infected individuals were present in overcrowded areas, experts have said, referring to the virus’ incubation period of up to 14 days. 

Reports of people arriving in Greece from abroad and breaking quarantine rules are another headache for authorities, who are preparing to open up the country to foreign visitors from next week when tests for Covid-19 will only be conducted on passengers arriving from countries with high infection rates.

Experts have expressed particular concern about overcrowding on public transport, ferries and bars, as it is difficult to trace contacts in the event that someone tests positive for the virus. 

Meanwhile health authorities are responding to localized spikes. Four schools in Xanthi and Drosero in northeastern Greece were on Wednesday closed for 10 days after a teacher who works at all four tested positive for Covid-19.

The man, who is reportedly asymptomatic, is in home quarantine while the other teachers at the four schools are to be tested. A second teacher from a school in the municipality of Topeiros has also tested positive for the virus, prompting authorities to close that school too.

Greece on Wednesday reported 11 new coronavirus infections, bringing the new tally to 3,068, while fatalities remain at 183. However, a spike earlier this week, with 52 cases reported on Monday, has put health authorities on alert. 

The Panhellenic Medical Association said the strict observance of health and safety protocols is the key to protecting the country from the pandemic. As it is impossible for tests to be conducted on the 5 to 10 million tourists expected to visit Greece this year, citizens must take responsibility, it said.

“If citizens observe measures to guard against the coronavirus, they will set an example to tourists,” it said.  

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