Authorities decided on Monday to intensify inspections in Thessaloniki to avert the prospect of bumping the northern port city up into a higher alert category following a worrying spike in coronavirus infections in recent days.
Amid a broader increase in cases nationwide, infections in Thessaloniki have risen sharply recently with more than 400 cases reported in the past 10 days, 49 of them on Monday.
The spike has put Thessaloniki at risk of entering the alert category of 2 or 3 (with 4 being the highest), hence the decision for more inspections on compliance with restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus. The move came after chief epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras briefed Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the situation in Thessaloniki on Monday.
There are also concerns about Attica, where 175 of yesterday’s 438 new cases were reported, though the rate of increase in greater Athens has stabilized, according to health experts. The new nationwide tally of cases since the outbreak of the pandemic is now 25,802, while the death toll rose to 520 with 11 new fatalities.
A key reason for the increase, epidemiologists believe, is a trend of outdoor parties and gatherings and the fact that many bars and clubs continue to violate restrictions on their operation. There are also serious worries about an increasing number of infections in retirement homes as elderly patients have fewer chances of survival.
Mitsotakis on Monday visited the capital’s Sotiria hospital to inaugurate 50 new intensive care beds – a donation from Greece’s Parliament budget. Thanks to further donations by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and other benefactors, the Greek health service will acquire even more ICU capacity over the coming month, Mitsotakis said.