Greece Puts 13 Hospitals on Standby for Coronavirus

File- A lab assistant works on samples after an AP interview with Christian Drosten, director of the institute for virology of Berlin's Charite hospital on his researches on the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

ATHENS – After letting seven tourists from Wuhan, China – where the feared Coronavirus began – leave Athens International Airport and go to Santorini, Greek health officials said 13 hospitals are being prepped in case the disease hits the country.

The virus has killed at least 132 so far in China, with some 2,700 cases reported although a whistleblower Chinese nurse said the real number is more than 90,000 and being hidden by the government to cover up the real extent of the problem.

Following talks with regional health officials, Health Minister Vasilis Kikilias approved the assignment of hospitals with infrastructure and equipment to deal with possible cases of the coronavirus, Kathimerini said.

The assigned hospitals include the Sotiria and Attikon in the capital, with Evangelismos and Thriasio as alternate options, while in Macedonia, Thessaloniki’s AHEPA was chosen and h Ptolemaida hospital as an alternate option. Others are also on standby in Larissa, Lamia and Ioannina and on Crete.

All the assigned hospitals are fully equipped to protect staff and patients from infection from the Coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry which earlier had warned that the illness could break out in patients who hadn’t yet shown symptoms, without explaining why the Chinese tourists were allowed into the country to visit the most popular and overcrowded island packed with visitors, even in the winter season.

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