A day after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis heralded new restrictions to curb a sharp spike in coronavirus infections, the latest figures indicate that the upward trend shows no signs of abating, with epidemiologists warning of an “aggressive” increase in northern Greece, while cases are up 40 percent in Attica since last week.
Health authorities are regularly reviewing a map that categorizes the country’s regions according to the level of transmission of the virus to ensure that restrictions are strict enough to contain further outbreaks without stifling economic and social activity.
As of Monday, 25 of the country’s 75 regional units will be in the lowest category of risk (level 1) with 33 at level 2, 14 at level 3 – including Attica and Thessaloniki – and two – Kastoria and Kozani, in northern Greece – at level 4.
Following talks with the country’s regional governorsa on Friday, Mitsotakis said that retail stores would not close in areas where partial lockdowns are in place.
On Friday, new Covid-19 infections remained above the 800 mark for a third day in a row, totaling 841, while 10 new fatalities were recorded. The new cases pushed the nationwide total since the onset of the pandemic to 29,057 while the death toll rose to 559. Eighty-nine patients were intubated.
Of the 841 new cases, 290 were in Attica and 197 in Thessaloniki, with 35 in Serres, 25 in Larissa, 20 in Kozani, 19 in Ioannina and 16 in Kastoria.
Commenting on Friday’s numbers, Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University, called for caution in Attica, noting that the fact that the virus has spiked sharply in other parts of the country should not be a cause for complacency.
Meanwhile Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias repeated that the upward trend in infections is being “led” by younger people, with most infections tied to bars, clubs and outdoor gatherings.