NEWS

Briefings resume as cases rise, new measures introduced

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Amid growing concern about the continuing upward trend in coronavirus infections in Greece, and the additional restrictions it has necessitated in parts of the country, the government has decided to reinstate televised briefings by its chief epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras and Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias.

Although the briefings will not be daily but twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday, they underscore the government’s concern about the rise in Covid-19 cases, particularly in Attica and on several islands.

Following a new record in infections on Sunday – 284 cases in 24 hours – the National Organization of Public Health (EODY) on Monday announced 170 new infections, bringing the nationwide total to 8,819. The dip was anticipated as testing typically slows down over the weekend. But the general upward trend remains a concern, as does an increase in cases involving international travel. The death toll remained at 242 on Monday.

Authorities imposed new restrictions on the island of Lesvos and in Hania, on Crete, following localized spikes in those areas. The restrictions include curfews on bars, restaurants and nightclubs and a limit on the size of public and private gatherings.

Meanwhile Education Minister Niki Kerameus outlined the measures that are to accompany the reopening of Greek schools next month. Classrooms are scheduled to reopen on September 7 but Kerameus said that could be postponed by a week. What is certain is that all schoolchildren and teachers will be obliged to wear a face mask indoors and also in outdoor areas if they are crowded. Fabric masks will be provided free of charge to students, parents and teachers.

There are also plans for EODY employees to carry out random diagnostic tests on schoolchildren in case there are any asymptomatic carriers.