Greek authorities are re-considering the possibility of introducing new lockdown measures after a series of violations and an increase in Covid-19 incidents over the weekend.
Despite strict warnings and far-reaching coronavirus regulations in place, a beach bar on Mykonos was fined 20,000 euros and shut down for two months days after it organized a party over the three-day holiday weekend, which is not allowed. Similar events were reported at other summer spots across the country.
At the same time, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) announced 97 new Covid-19 cases, 30 of which travelers from abroad who tested positive and 29 as part of organized screenings in the Xanthi border region. Indicatively, of all Greece’s confirmed coronavirus cases, 690 or 22.6 percent regard travel from abroad.
‘Local lockdowns’ a possibility
In view of the recent developments, the Greek government is considering the possibility of implementing local lockdowns, particularly after epidemiologists warned that a single carrier with no symptoms can infect at least 400 people.
At the same time however, speaking in Geneva on Monday, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead for coronavirus response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said the spread of Covid-19 by someone who is not showing symptoms “appears to be rare”.
Referring to the Mykonos incident, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas confirmed that there is a plan for a local lockdown in the event of increased coronavirus cases in a structure, a school or even an entire geographical area including prefectures and islands.
Petsas explained that the focus would be on identifying the case quickly and then limiting the spread in the community, adding that this was done with the flights from Doha, which were suspended immediately after 12 passengers were found to be infected with Covid-19.
“We will do the same locally if we see a problem somewhere, whether it’s in a neighborhood, a health facility or a school. It may even concern a geographical area, an island or a prefecture,” he said, urging the public to remain alert and to continue practicing hygiene and social distancing.
Greece monitoring epidemiological performance of all countries
With regard to the rise in incoming Covid-19 cases from abroad as Greece prepares to open to travelers on Monday (June 15), Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias said the government was monitoring the epidemiological performance of all countries, including the 29 on the list issued allowing quarantine-free entry into Greece, and those that are high risk and “we will act accordingly”.
Hardalias went on to explain that “sampling… has to do with a modern protocol producing an algorithm that has to do with where travelers come from, if they went through transit transports, if cases were found in previous days in their area, and the cases produced by our sampling research”.