Health authorities on Friday ordered sweeping inspections of all retirement homes across the country following coronavirus outbreaks at several such facilities in a bid to prevent the trend from escalating as daily infection numbers remain steadily above 200 and the number of patients in intensive care is rising.
The inspections on retirement homes are to be particularly intensive over the next 10 days in a bid to ensure that all such facilities are properly licensed and are operating subject to health protocols issued by the government to curb the spread of the virus.
Facilities found to be operating without a license or violating health protocols will be closed and their residents transferred to other facilities, sources indicated. Meanwhile Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias issued a series of emergency measures for the managers of such facilities, including the suspension of vacation leave for employees among fears that workers could import the virus into the homes.
The development came as the upward trend of infections in Greece continues. Health authorities on Friday announced 202 new infections in the past 24 hours, including 86 in Attica and 16 in Thessaloniki, bringing the nationwide total to 11,200. There was one more fatality, bringing the death toll to 279.
Infectious disease expert Charalambos Gogos warned people against complacency, noting that the “critical phase” of the pandemic is a reality in Greece as much as in other countries with higher infection rates. With around 30 percent of cases asymptomatic, Gogos said it was particularly important to quickly curb the spread of the virus.
In its latest report meanwhile, Greece’s coronavirus observatory pointed to an increase in the rate of intensive care hospitalizations and deaths, and a rise in infections among young people, aged under 40.