“Our country was and remains in a better epidemiological range, compared to other countries, despite the increase observed again in recent weeks worldwide,” said Petsas during the press briefing.
To support his comment, Petsas cited global data noting that the current average per 1 million people is 2,831 infections, whereas in Greece there are 693 cases per 1 million people.
“And while the average death rate worldwide is 100 per 1 million inhabitants, in Greece it is 22, about five times lower. Our country is ranked 132nd in terms of coronavirus cases and 108th in terms of deaths per million inhabitants,” he said.
Petsas referred to the example of Belgium, a country similar in population with Greece, where he said the number of Covid-19 cases are 10 times greater with 42 more deaths compared to Greece.
The government’s spokesman went on to stress that the “better epidemiological picture in Greece compared to other countries comes in response to all those who are trying to create the impression that things are out of hand in our country,” he said.
Petsas reiterated Deputy Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias’ argument that the recent rise in Covid-19 cases – occurring globally as well – is a result of carelessness with regard to hygiene measures and attributed to domestic incidents.
Backing this up, Petsas said of the “332,934 tests conducted at the country’s 31 entry points as of July 1 to yesterday [Wednesday], 725 samples were positive, which corresponds to 0.21 percent of visitors,” to Greece.
He also said that employees in public transportation companies returning to work after holidays would be required to undergo testing.
Lastly, the government has boosted inspections countrywide for adherence to health measures and protocols (by businesses). Indicatively, on August 19, Greek enforcement authorities carried out 6,867 inspections across Greece and found and fined 320 violations.
Earlier today, referring to Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias’ announcement on Tuesday, that Greece would by December have access to a first batch of three million doses of a planned Covid-19 vaccine currently in large-scale clinical studies, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the government was looking into ways to cover the cost of vaccination if necessary through insurance contributions.
“If necessary, the finance ministry is ready to assist in this direction,” he said.
It should be noted that vulnerable groups will have priority access to the vaccine, authorities said.
Greek health authorities on Thursday reported 269 new coronavirus cases (11 cases were imported from travelers abroad), raising the total number to 7,934. The death toll in the country has reached 235.