Coronavirus infections broke a new record on Tuesday, shooting up to 1,259 as authorities announced that two more regional units of northern Greece, Serres and Ioannina, will go into lockdown following localized spikes in cases there.
Meanwhile, Kathimerini understands, Greek authorities are considering the imposition of further measures to avert the further spread of the virus. These could include a 9 p.m. closing time for bars and restaurants which now shut at midnight and a ban on travel outside one’s regional unit.
Tuesday's new cases pushed the total number of infections since the onset to 32,752 while 12 new related fatalities nudged the death toll up to 593. The total number of intubated patients was 102. Of the new cases, 295 were detected in Attica, 291 in Thessaloniki, with 55 in Serres and 21 in Ioannina.
Pointing to abrupt increases in Ioannina and Serres, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said they would enter risk Level 4, meaning that public and private gatherings will be banned while shops, gyms, courts, restaurants, cinemas and museums will close.
They join Kastoria and Kozani, the only other two regions at the top risk level for the spread of the coronavirus. The situation in Thessaloniki and Larissa, central Greece, is “borderline,” Hardalias added.
For his part, epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras called on Greeks to redouble their efforts to protect themselves and others, stressing the importance of using face masks and practice social distancing.
“Our ancestors made a sacrifice 80 years ago,” he said, referring to Wednesday's Ochi Day national holiday commemorating Greece’s defiance of the Axis Powers and entry into World War II. “It is our turn today.”
Shortly before the announcement of the new figures, it emerged that Education Minister Niki Kerameus has tested positive for the coronavirus. The minister said she decided to get tested after her spouse developed symptoms of Covid-19 and the results showed that both had been infected. She said she is currently asymptomatic and self-isolating.
Health experts have called for stricter measures such as earlier closing times for bars and restaurants.
“There’s no leeway left; we need to move ahead with additional measures before the weather changes, as weather conditions play a part in the transmission of the virus,” Athens Medical School microbiology professor Athanassios Tsakris told Skai Radio.