Greek health authorities were concerned on Thursday after the National Organization of Public Health (EODY) announced five fatalities related to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 204 new infections, marking a continuation of a new upward trend.
Of the five deaths, two involved residents of a retirement home near Thessaloniki where dozens of people tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
A Thessaloniki prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the retirement home in Asvestochori, a small town on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, where 33 residents and three staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. The residents of the facility were hospitalized on Wednesday, most with mild symptoms.
According to the government’s chief epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras, the virus is believed to have been spread by a staff member who caught it from a relative who had recently attended a concert. The probe into the exact circumstances of the transmission was ordered by the chief of the northern city’s court of first instance, Stefanos Zarkantzias.
The 204 new infections reported on Thursday brought the nationwide total to 6,381 and the five fatalities pushed the death toll to 221. Of the 204 cases only 12 involved foreign tourists tested at the country’s borders. The vast majority of infections are through community transmission, prompting health experts to appeal to citizens to be more diligent in their use of face masks and social distancing.
“The situation in our country has the dynamic of a second wave of the pandemic,” the vice president of EODY, Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos, an assistant professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Patra, told Kathimerini.
He said it was difficult to draw parallels between the current phase of the pandemic and its initial phase, observing that more testing is revealing more infections. He added that despite the sharp increase in cases, the pandemic “has not yet spiraled out of control.”
Commenting on the fact that many of the cases in Attica involve people returning from island vacations, Panagiotakopoulos said that there are “certain few islands of the Cyclades where transmission is associated chiefly with young people.”