Experts warn against relaxed response to dip in infections
Six months after Greece reported its first Covid-19 infection in Thessaloniki, health experts have indicated that the dip of cases in the past few days is encouraging but no reason for complacency as the daily numbers being reported last week were consistently over 200, in one case close to 300.
Addressing a public briefing – the first since late May – infectious diseases expert Gkikas Magiorkinis warned that “the pandemic continues to simmer.” “As it appears, the dramatic increase in cases, a trend recorded in the first week of August and which would have led, logically, to more than 400 cases per day, appears to have been curbed,” Magiorkinis said, attributing the dip to the imposition of restrictions to tackle localized spikes.
The scientist warned against complacency, however, noting that “a small number of carriers, under the appropriate circumstances, could transmit the virus to many.” He stressed the importance of wearing masks in enclosed public places and called on returning holidaymakers to self-isolate for seven to 10 days.
Meanwhile, experts are concerned about a rise in infections among younger people. Although the chances of young people facing serious complications, or death, from an infection are slim, the lasting repercussions of even a mild case of Covid-19 still remain unclear. Also, young carriers could potentially infecting members of more vulnerable groups.
Addressing the same press conference Tuesday, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias responded to criticism over opening the borders to tourists in July, noting that international arrivals account for just a fraction of total cases. Since July 1, of the 360,206 tests conducted on 2,913,614 visitors, 723 people tested positive for Covid-19.
Greek authorities Tuesday announced 168 new cases of the coronavirus and one fatality. Twenty of the 168 cases involved tourists tested upon arrival. Greece’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now 8,987, with 243 dead.