NEWS

Retirement home comes under scrutiny

retirement-home-comes-under-scrutiny

Two investigations }are under way to determine whether management or staff at a nursing home in Asvestochori, east of Thessaloniki, where 26 residents died after being infected with the coronavirus, should be held accountable for the tragedy. 

“It is the first retirement home in Thessaloniki which has had such a problem, such a spread in a closed area which is supposedly protected,” Stefanos Zarkatzias, the head of the Thessaloniki court of first instance, told Kathimerini. In addition to the prosecutor’s probe, a second investigation has been launched by the country’s National Transparency Authority. 

Yiannis Kotzamanidis, a lawyer representing the families of some of the victims, spoke of “an unprecedented and unbelievable case of irresponsibility.” “It was like someone came by and shot them with a machine gun,” he told Kathimerini, referring to the short period within which the deaths occurred. 

Ioannis Daglis, the owner of the nursing home, claimed that the facility had observed all necessary health protocols, adding that diagnostic tests for coronavirus were conducted there before it was even a legal requirement. While it remains unclear how the virus entered the facility, the likeliest scenario is that it was brought in by an asymptomatic employee, he said. “It is a very, very difficult situation,” he told Kathimerini. 

“Some lost people before they had a chance to say goodbye,” the lawyer, Kotzamanidis, told Kathimerini.

One of the bereaved, 57-year-old P., who asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons, told Kathimerini that the retirement home did not observe the necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus. P., whose 90-year-old mother was admitted to the hospital in August and died last month after contracting the virus, said the employee who had helped his mother had worn neither a face mask nor gloves.