Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is calling on the country’s youth to practice social distancing and mask-wearing in order to keep Covid-19 at bay after Greece recorded an increasing number of coronavirus infections and deaths this month.
Mitsotakis expressed his concern over the fast spread of infection particularly at tourist destinations, hours before additional measures were announced by Deputy Citizen Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias.
Speaking after an emergency Covid-19 committee meeting on Friday, Mitsotakis urged the younger generations to take heed of the measures to protect both themselves and their families.
The committee has already requested tighter measures especially in view of the return later this month of holidaymakers to urban centers.
“I appeal to our young people, to the youth… Be careful, take care of yourself, you are not invincible, and those who are surely not invincible are your parents and grandparents,” he said. The PM added that failure to abide will force the government to take “even more drastic measures, which will undoubtedly have economic consequences”.
The inter-ministerial meeting took place hours after the country’s national health authority announced a total of 221 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, and data revealing virus infections increasing among younger age groups.
Returning Travelers Increase Covid Risk in Cities
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias confirmed that new infection trends across Europe indicate that the virus is now infecting younger generations with the average age down to 36 in August.
“We know that this virus is spreading more among the younger ages. We also know that these people in the coming days, in the coming weeks, will return from the tourist destinations to their permanent residence in the urban centers,” Mitsotakis said, stressing that it is very important “they take responsibility”.
On the guidance of the country’s Covid-19 committee, the prime minister advised younger travelers to wear masks at all times and adhere strictly to hygiene measures after they return from their holidays in efforts to safeguard their families and older more vulnerable members.
He added that relevant televised awareness/info ads are set to go on the air very soon.
Meanwhile, infectious diseases expert and member of the Covid-19 committee Nikolaos Sipsas also referred to the risk of higher infection numbers due to the return of holidaymakers. “The return of vacationers from tourist destinations means an increase in cases in urban centers,” he said speaking on Mega Channel.
Though Sipsas ruled out the possibility of a second total lockdown, which he said would have “catastrophic consequences”, he did leave open the possibility of re-introducing the SMS requirement firstly launched at the beginning of the pandemic.
The text message requirement in cases of individual movement “may possibly be restored when we have a large outbreak and it will be implemented locally”, he said, adding that relevant decisions concerning the opening of schools will be announced at the end of August based on epidemiological data.