Editor’s note: An update of the epidemiological situation of islands of concern was given on Thursday evening by Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias.
Greek infectious disease expert, Haralambos Gogos, on Thursday said a few more Greek islands are reaching ‘red’ coronavirus (Covid-19) status due to a rise in cases.
Referring to a “rising problem” while speaking to SKAI TV, Gogos informed that the islands of Paros and Tinos are following in the footsteps of Ios and are showing a spike in Covid-19 cases which will land them among Greece’s ‘red’ areas.
The health expert said that the situation on Crete has improved. “Especially in Rethymno the situation has stabilized,” he said.
With regard to the rising cases on Ios, Paros and Tinos, Gogos stressed that it is necessary for the situation on the islands to be controlled (more checks that rules are being followed) in order for the government to not impose strict restrictive measures such as those implemented recently on Mykonos.
As a start, the health expert suggested for the government to thoroughly brief the local authorities of the islands in order for them to raise the awareness of businessmen, tourists and residents.
It should be mentioned that Greek government officials have stated that if restrictive measures are imposed on islands where there are local Covid-19 outbreaks that pose a health risk, they will not be as strict as those on Mykonos and will not significantly cause disruption.
Referring to the the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order for Greece to reach herd immunity, Gogos put it at 80 percent of the population due to the prevailing Delta variant and high transmissibility.
Regarding vaccinations, he urged all health professionals and workers in sectors such as education and F&B to rush to be get the jab before it becomes compulsory.
August exodus nearing and worrying authorities
According to reports, authorities are concerned that the mass August exodus of Athenians for their annual summer holidays will make the situation on the islands even more difficult due to congestion.
Among new measures being considered to curb the spread of the coronavirus is the stationing of more police officers on the islands to step up checks. There are also thoughts for banning local village festivals, known as “panigyria” during the August 15 weekend.
Greek health authorities on Wednesday announced 2,874 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths.
Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 485,015. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 12,926.